The government has called for "immediate action" by primary care trusts (PCTs) to review the prescription of drugs to elderly people in UK care homes.
Concerns have been raised over the prescription of controversial drug treatments, such as antipsychotics and benzodiazepines, to care home residents following a number of cases of elderly people being sedated to keep them under control.
The Department of Health issued the warning via the NHS Central Alerting System after a government-funded review into the administration of medicines in care homes found a high number of medication errors.
The call for action precedes an investigation by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) later this year, which will place medicines management by GPs, care homes and PCTs under the spotlight.
PCTs have also been ordered to carry out ongoing audits of the prescription and administration of drugs in care homes to maintain standards, as well as developing stronger communication links between GPs, pharmacists and social care providers.
"PCTs should work with their primary medical care contractors, providers of pharmaceutical services and social care partners to determine how medication errors in care homes for older people can be reduced," the alert read.