A recent Department of Health report places the UK eleventh out of 14 developed nations in prescribing four drugs used to help alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
It’s not easy to get a diagnosis to start with, but when you do, you may well be told that you’re not yet demented enough to be given any drugs. According to the report, over 100,000 people in the UK are denied the drugs each year. This would seem to be a financial decision not a medical one. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence says the drugs are not cost effective at £2.50 per day.
I have written already about the high cost of prescribed drugs and I am all for reducing costs in the NHS and not using drugs unnecessarily but surely this approach to dementia is both short sighted and distressing.
Now I’m confused.
Firstly, because I always thought that the earlier you start taking preventative drugs, the more effective they could be.
Secondly, at £17.50 per week to reduce levels of confusion, the cost would seem to be very good value compared to the likelihood of accidents related to dementia.
Falls are common amongst confused older people and the cost of a fractured hip to the NHS would dwarf the £17.50 a week which might prevent them happening.