Psychotropic drug prescriptions for nursing home residents.
Previous work has indicated that psychotropic medications may be misused in nursing homes. Utilizing data from the National Nursing Home Study Pretest, this analysis examined the frequency, indications, and appropriateness of psychotropic drug prescriptions for a random group of 526 US nursing home residents. One third of the sample residents were receiving a psychotropic medication, and 8 percent were receiving more than one. Twenty-one percent of those without a listed mental disorder diagnosis received psychotropic medications, almost one third of which were antipsychotic medications. With no corresponding notation of a related symptom or diagnosis in the chart, 30 percent of 212 psychotropic prescriptions were judged inappropriate by a three-physician panel. Although more research should be done, these results suggest the need for better and more careful charting in nursing homes as well as better training for primary care physicians in the proper prescribing of psychotropic drugs.
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