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Drug prescription in Italian Residential Facilities

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 October 2011

Rodolfo Tomasi
Servizio Psichiatrico, AS di Bolzano, Bolzano
Giovanni de Girolamo*
Dipartimento di Salute Mentale, AUSL di Bologna, Bologna
Giovanni Santone
Clinica Psichiatrica, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Ospedali Riuniti di Ancona, “Umberto I, G.M. Lancisi, G. Salesi”, Ancona
Angelo Picardi
Centro Nazionale di Epidemiologia, Sorveglianza e Promozione della Salute, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma
Rocco Micciolo
Cattedra di Biostatistica, Università di Trento, Trento
Domenico Semisa
Dipartimento di Salute Mentale, Bari
Silva Fava
Servizio di Psicologia Clinica, Distretto di Faenza, ASL di Ravenna, Ravenna
Gruppo Progres
II Gruppo PROGRES include: Coordinatori Nazionali, G. de Girolamo, A. Picardi, P. Morosini (Progetto Nazionale Salute Mentale, lstituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma); Biostatistico, R. Micciolo (Università di Trento); Coordinatori Regionali, P. Argentino, G. Borsetti, M. Casacchia, P. Ciliberti, G. Civenti, A. Colotto, G. Dell'Acqua, W. Di Munzio, G. Fagnano, A. Fioritti, N. Longhin, M. Miceli, M. Nicotera, M. Pisetta, R. Putzolu, E. Rossi, M.E. Rotunno, D. Semisa, R. Tomasi, P. Tulli, E. Zanalda, Ricercatori: F. Amaddeo, C. Barbini, F. Basile, G. Bazzacco, R. Bracco, A. Calvarese, G. Canuso, E. Caroppo, L. Caserta, M. Colangione, S. Damiani, T. De Donatis, F. Di Donato, V. Di Michele, R. Esposito, M. Facchini, I. Falloon, S. Ferraro, P. Fracchiolla, P. Gabriele, D. Gallicchio, G. Giardina, A. Greco, F. Grilletti, S. Guzzo, A.M. Lerario, M.R. Marinelli, C. Marino, E. Monzani, F. Picco, L. Pinciaroli, C.A. Rossetti, P. Rubatta, G. Santone, F. Scorpiniti, V. Scrofani, M. Stefani, A. Svettini, A. Zaffarano, M. Cellini, A. Galli, K. Pesaresi, G. Pitzalis, L. Tarantino.
Address for correspondence: Dr. G. de Girolamo, Dipartimento di Salute Mentale, Viale Pepoli 5, 40123 Bologna. Fax: +39-051-658.4178 E-mail:


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.

Original Papers
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2005

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