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Med J Aust. 2018 May 21;208(9):398-403. Epub 2018 May 14.

RedUSe: reducing antipsychotic and benzodiazepine prescribing in residential aged care facilities.

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Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS
University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS.
Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS.



To assess the impact of a multi-strategic, interdisciplinary intervention on antipsychotic and benzodiazepine prescribing in residential aged care facilities (RACFs). Design, setting: Prospective, longitudinal intervention in Australian RACFs, April 2014 - March 2016.


150 RACFs (with 12 157 residents) comprised the main participant group; two further groups were consultant pharmacists (staff education) and community pharmacies (prescribing data). Data for all RACF residents, excluding residents receiving respite or end-stage palliative care, were included.


A multi-strategic program comprising psychotropic medication audit and feedback, staff education, and interdisciplinary case review at baseline and 3 months; final audit at 6 months.


Mean prevalence of regular antipsychotic and benzodiazepine prescribing at baseline, and at 3 and 6 months. Secondary measures: chlorpromazine and diazepam equivalent doses/day/resident; proportions of residents for whom drug was ceased or the dose reduced; prevalence of antidepressant and prn (as required) psychotropic prescribing (to detect any substitution practice).


During the 6-month intervention, the proportion of residents prescribed antipsychotics declined by 13% (from 21.6% [95% CI, 20.4-22.9%] to 18.9% [95% CI, 17.7-20.1%]), and that of residents regularly prescribed benzodiazepines by 21% (from 22.2% [95% CI, 21.0-23.5%] to 17.6% [95% CI, 16.5-18.7]; each, P < 0.001). Mean chlorpromazine equivalent dose declined from 22.9 mg/resident/day (95% CI, 19.8-26.0) to 20.2 mg/resident/day (95% CI, 17.5-22.9; P < 0.001); mean diazepam equivalent dose declined from 1.4 mg/resident/day (95% CI, 1.3-1.5) to 1.1 mg/resident/day (95% CI, 0.9-1.2; P < 0.001). For 39% of residents prescribed antipsychotics and benzodiazepines at baseline, these agents had been ceased or their doses reduced by 6 months. There was no substitution by sedating antidepressants or prn prescribing of other psychotropic agents.


The RedUSe program achieved significant reductions in the proportions of RACF residents prescribed antipsychotics and benzodiazepines.


Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials, ACTRN12617001257358.


Anti-anxiety agents; Antipsychotic agents; Dementia; Deprescriptions; Geriatric psychiatry; Health services for the aged; Nursing care; Primary care; Psychopharmacology; Psychotropic drugs; Quality of health care; Sleep aids

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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