The use of antipsychotic drugs as a 'chemical cosh' for people with Alzheimer's disease has proved very controversial and a new survey by the Alzheimer's Society suggests that it is still a problem. The survey - of over 650 nurses and 450 nurse managers - showed widespread use of the drugs, sometimes purely to control 'difficult' patients. Government guidelines say the drugs can be given if patients are severely agitated or violent but critics claim that they are overused to keep patients sedated and make life easier for staff. The drugs can have serious side effects and are known to increase the risk of death.
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