COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Use of psychotropic medicines in residential care facilities for older people in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Marilyn Tucker, Ian Hosford
New Zealand Medical Journal 2008 May 23, 121 (1274): 18-25
18535643

AIM: To audit the use of various categories of psychotropic medicines in residential care facilities in Hawke's Bay.

METHOD: Data on psychotropic medicines use for all residents in participating residential care facilities were extracted from community pharmacy records and analysed. These data were compared to a similar study performed in 1990.

RESULTS: 54.7% of residents were prescribed one or more psychotropic medicines, a similar proportion to that recorded in 1990. The use of regular benzodiazepines reduced from 29.6% to 12.4% while the use of antidepressant medicines increased from 15.5% to 30.6%. Most residents on antipsychotic medicines are now on 'atypical' agents at relatively low doses, and overall use of antipsychotic medication has not changed significantly. The use of psychotropic medicines in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand does not differ much from other countries where similar audits have been performed.

CONCLUSION: The increase in use of antidepressants is likely to reflect better diagnosis and management of depression in nursing homes. The use of benzodiazepines and sedative medication is probably still excessive.

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