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Use of Psychotropics in Sydney Nursing Homes: Associations With Depression, Psychosis, and Behavioral Disturbances

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 January 2005

Brian Draper
Affiliation:
School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia School of Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia Academic Department for Old Age Psychiatry, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, Australia.
Henry Brodaty
Affiliation:
School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia Academic Department for Old Age Psychiatry, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, Australia.
Lee-Fay Low
Affiliation:
Academic Department for Old Age Psychiatry, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, Australia.
Dania Saab
Affiliation:
Academic Department for Old Age Psychiatry, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, Australia.
David Lie
Affiliation:
Academic Department for Old Age Psychiatry, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, Australia.
Vicki Richards
Affiliation:
Academic Department for Old Age Psychiatry, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, Australia.
Helen Paton
Affiliation:
Academic Department for Old Age Psychiatry, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, Australia.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of psychotropic use in nursing home residents, the extent to which psychotropic dosage is consistent with published guidelines, and the relationships between psychotropic class and psychiatric and behavioral disturbances. Six hundred forty-seven subjects, mean age 82.3 years, residing in 11 nursing homes in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, Australia, were assessed using the Behavioral Pathology in Alzheimer's Disease Rating Scale (BEHAVE-AD), the Abbreviated Mental Test Scale, and the Even Briefer Assessment Scale for Depression (EBAS-DEP). Details of psychotropic prescription and diagnoses of depression, dementia, and psychosis were obtained from nursing home charts. Psychotropics were prescribed for 333 (51.5%) residents, 381 (58.9%) if “as required” (PRN) use is included. Prescription of multiple psychotropics was present in 148 (22.7%) residents. Antidepressants were prescribed for 19.8% of residents, with subtherapeutic doses less likely in residents on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. On logistic regression, the use of antidepressants was predicted by the affective disturbances subscale on the BEHAVE-AD. Only 30.4% of residents with significant depressive symptoms on the EBAS-DEP were prescribed antidepressants. Antipsychotics were prescribed for 21.3% residents at a mean dosage of 73 mg chlorpromazine equivalence. Residents on antipsychotics had significantly higher scores on the delusions, hallucinations, activity disturbance, and aggressiveness subscales of the BEHAVE-AD. On logistic regression, only the activity disturbance subscale and chart diagnoses of dementia and psychosis were significant predictors. Psychosis (58.8%) and behavioral disturbances (91.9%) were more prevalent in residents prescribed antipsychotics than in residents not prescribed antipsychotics (42.5% and 76.6%, respectively). High rates of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia remained in residents prescribed antipsychotics and high rates of depressive symptoms in residents prescribed antidepressants, suggesting a role for nonpharmacological strategies.

Type
Articles
Copyright
© 2001 International Psychogeriatric Association

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