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Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1981 Mar;3(1):1-9.

Psychotropic drug use and polypharmacy in a general hospital.


This paper presents the usage of psychotropic drugs by all general inpatients of a Boston teaching and referral hospital on a randomly chosen weekday. Of all surveyed inpatients, 42.8% were receiving at least one psychotropic medication. Sleep medications were the most frequently prescribed class of psychotropic drugs and flurazepam was the most commonly prescribed of all drugs. Phenothiazine and neuroleptics were given to control agitation, pain, or nausea, rather than psychosis. Antidepressants were prescribed without notated justification in the medical record, and if given for depression, were underdosed. Diazepam was the most frequently prescribed antianxiety drug and was the most frequently prescribed psychotropic drug after flurazepam. Psychotropic drug polypharmacy was common, with the average patient receiving seven different drugs. Remedial approaches to this widespread problem are recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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