Geriatric drug utilisation of psychotropics in Belgian nursing homes
Article first published online: 11 MAR 2011
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental
Volume 26, Issue 1, pages 12–20, January 2011
How to Cite
Azermai, M., Elseviers, M., Petrovic, M., Van Bortel, L. and Stichele, R. V. (2011), Geriatric drug utilisation of psychotropics in Belgian nursing homes. Hum. Psychopharmacol. Clin. Exp., 26: 12–20. doi: 10.1002/hup.1160
- Issue published online: 28 MAR 2011
- Article first published online: 11 MAR 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 27 NOV 2010
- Manuscript Received: 6 MAY 2010
- older adults;
- psychotropic drugs;
- nursing homes;
- homes for the aged;
- drug utilisation;
To determine the prevalence of psychotropic drug use in Belgian nursing homes, in relation to residents' and institutional characteristics.
The PHEBE project (Prescribing in Homes for the Elderly in Belgium, 2005) was a cross-sectional study, investigating drug use in 76 nursing homes. Psychotropics were categorised into antidepressants, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and anti-dementia drugs using the ATC classification.
Residents' mean age (n = 1730) was 85 (SD: 8) years and 78% were female. The overall prevalence of psychotropic drug use among nursing home residents was 79%. Benzodiazepines were used by 54% and antipsychotics by 33% of all residents. Residents received a higher number of antipsychotics (p < 0.001) but fewer antidepressants (and other medicines) with increasing severity of dementia. Antidepressants were prescribed in 40% of which 2/3 was indicated for depression and 1/3 for insomnia. Anti-dementia drugs were used by 8%. Institutional characteristics showed no relationship with psychotropic drug use, except for a lower use when medication was dispensed by a hospital pharmacist (p = 0.001).
As in other European countries, the prevalence of psychotropic utilisation in Belgian nursing homes is exceedingly high, with excessive duplicate use. Guidelines, education and clinical practice recommendations focusing on initiation, reassessment and withdrawal of psychotropic therapy, are needed. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.