Objective: The objective of this study was to develop a clear understanding of the psychotropic drugs being used in older people (65 years) with mental illness being cared for by a South West Yorkshire mental Health Trust in Wakefield.
Materials and Methods: Psychotropic drugs are widely prescribed in older people, but compared with younger patients, relatively little has been published on their use with older people in routine clinical practice. This was a comprehensive survey of all patients 65 years. Information collected included demographic details, clinical information about diagnosis and symptoms, and detailed information about medication. This information was collected by a research nurse from patients, carers, medical and nursing staff, other health care professionals, and patientsí medical notes.
Results: In total, 595 patients were included in the study, and of these, 49.4% had dementia, 33.7% a mood disorder, 11% schizophrenia or a related disorder, and 5.9% anxiety and other disorders. The age range was from 44-97 years with 31 patients (5.2%) having early onset dementia. 20.4% of patients were not taking any psychotropic drugs. Antipsychotics were the most commonly prescribed drugs, with 348 (58.7%) taking at least one antipsychotic. 6.1% were taking two antipsychotics and 0.7% three antipsychotics. In addition, 280 (47.2%) of patients were taking an antidepressant. The most commonly prescribed antipsychotic was risperidone, and doses of risperidone were significantly higher in patients with schizophrenia and paranoid disorders compared with those with dementia and mood disorders (f=4.41, p<0.002).
Conclusion: Psychotropic drugs are widely prescribed in older people with the newer antipsychotics and antidepressants being the two most commonly prescribed drugs. Medications were well tolerated, but approximately 7% of patients were taking two or more antipsychotics.
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