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Drug prescription in Italian Residential Facilities

  • Rodolfo Tomasi (a1), Giovanni de Girolamo (a2), Giovanni Santone (a3), Angelo Picardi (a4), Rocco Micciolo (a5), Domenico Semisa (a6), Silva Fava (a7) and Gruppo Progres (a8)...


Aims — To investigate in a representative national sample (N=2,962) of patients living in Residential Facilities (RFs) patterns of polypharmacy as well as related variables, association between diagnoses and therapeutic patterns, and the rate of adverse events. Methods — Structured interviews focusing on each patient were conducted by trained research assistants with the manager and staff of each RF. Patients were rated with the HoNOS and the SOFAS, and comprehensive information about their sociodemographic and clinical status, and their pharmacological regimes were collected. Results — Conventional antipsychotics and second-generation antipsychotics were prescribed to 65% and 43% of the sample, respectively. Benzodiazepines were prescribed to two-thirds of the sample, while antidepressants were the least-used class of psychotropics. Polypharmacy was common: on average, each treated patient was taking 2.7 drugs (±1.1); antipsychotic polypharmacy was also common. Many prescriptions were loosely related to specific diagnoses. Antiparkinsonianian drugs were prescribed to approximately 1/4 of the sample. Mild or severe adverse events in the previous month were reported for 9.9% and 1.4% of the sample, respectively. About 15% of patients suffered from tardive dyskinesia. Conclusions — Psychotropic drug prescription patterns for severe patients living in RFs are only sometimes satisfactory and offer the opportunity of improvement. Specific actions are required to improve prescription patterns for severe patients in RFs.

Declaration of Interest: in the past two years GdG has received two speaker fees from Janssen-Cilag and from Eli Lilly; GS has received one speaker fee from Solvay. RM, AP, SF and RT have received no fees or other financial support from pharmaceutical companies.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr. G. de Girolamo, Dipartimento di Salute Mentale, Viale Pepoli 5, 40123 Bologna. Fax: +39-051-658.4178 E-mail:


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