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Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2001 Feb;16(2):147-54.

Determinants for the use of psychotropics among nursing home residents.

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Department of Psychiatric Demography, Psychiatric Hospital in Aarhus, Aarhus University Hospital, Skovagervej 2, DK-8240 Risskov, Denmark.



To characterise the prescription pattern of psychotropics in Danish nursing homes and to identify diagnostic, behavioural, cognitive and performance characteristics associated with prevalent psychotropic drug use.


Prescribed daily medication was recorded from nurses' files. Based on the Anatomical Therapeutical Chemical (ATC) classification index, psychotropics were categorised into neuroleptics, benzodiazepines and antidepressants. Two hundred and eighty-eight residents were diagnosed using the GMS-AGECAT. One hundred and eighteen staff members were interviewed about the residents's Activities of Daily Living (ADL), behavioural problems (Nursing Home Behavior Problem Scale), orientation, communication skills and if the resident had any psychiatric disorder. Multiple logistic regression was used to select the items that determined the use of psychotropics.


Fifty-six percent of the residents received a psychotropic, 21% received neuroleptics, 38% received benzodiazepines and 24% received antidepressants. In the multivariate analysis, staff assessment of the resident's mental health was a determinant for the use of all types of specific psychotropics, whereas a GMS-AGECAT diagnosis only determined the use of neuroleptics. Behavioural problems were a determinant for the use of neuroleptics and the use of benzodiazepines irrespective of the psychiatric diagnosis of the resident. Use of antidepressants was associated with male gender and increasing age.


Staff perceptions of psychiatric morbidity and norms have a greater impact on the prescription of psychotropics than standardised clinical criteria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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