The NHS Choices “Behind the Headlines” service has drawn attention to a further study raising concern over the prescribing of psychotropic medicines for elderly people living in care homes.
The study in question examined how psychotropic drugs – i.e. antipsychotic drugs, sedatives (hypnotics) and anxiolytics (for treatment of anxiety and agitation) – are prescribed for elderly people in the community and care homes in Northern Ireland. The researchers discovered a significant increase in these prescriptions when people move into care homes.
More than 20% of elderly people in care homes appear to be prescribed antipsychotic drugs, compared with around 1% of elderly people living in the community. The prescription of antipsychotic drugs increased (in this Northern Ireland study) from around 8% before entering a care home to 18.6% later.
Medication reviews are recommended for older people, particularly during transitions of care.
Worry over antipsychotic drugs in care homes. London: NHS Choices; Behind the Headlines, February 21st 2013.
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Full Text Link (b) (Note: This article requires a suitable Athens password, a journal subscription or payment for access).
Maguire, A. Hughes, C. [and] Cardwell, C. [et al] (2013). Psychotropic medications and the transition into care: a national data linkage study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, January 15th 2013, Vol.61(2), pp.215-21. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).
[A brief reference to this item features in Dementia and Elderly Care: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWNHST), Volume 3 Issue 7, May 2013].