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Australas J Ageing. 2008 Sep;27(3):134-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-6612.2008.00308.x.

Antipsychotic use in the elderly: what doctors say they do, and what they do.

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Albert Road Clinic, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



To review psychiatrists' attitudes and actual practice on the use of typical and atypical antipsychotics in the elderly.


Audit data were collected from 18-old-age psychiatry units across Australia. The attitudes of old age psychiatrists and their perceptions of the efficacy, tolerability and clinical usefulness of antipsychotics were examined.


The medications used for 321 patients were audited, and the attitudes of the 57 prescribing doctors were assessed. All available atypicals were prescribed and reported as more efficacious and clinically useful than typicals. Adverse events perceived by doctors as an obstacle to prescribing were more frequent than reported adverse event rates in product information. All diagnostic groups improved. Off-label use comprised almost 22% in this sample.


Adverse events are impediments to prescribing, more so with typical than atypical antipsychotics. All available atypicals were used and appeared effective in this elderly population.

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