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Specialist prescribing of psychotropic drugs to older persons in Sweden: a register-based study of 188 024 older persons
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare.
Ersta Sköndal Högskola.
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9714-577X
Karolinska Institutet.
2012 (English)In: BMC Psychiatry, ISSN 1471-244X, E-ISSN 1471-244X, Vol. 12, no 197Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

The situation for older persons with mental disorders other than dementia disorders has scarcely been studied. The older population is increasing worldwide and along with this increase the prevalence of mental disorders will also rise. The treatment of older persons with mental disorders entails complex challenges, with drugs constituting the major medical treatment. Knowledge of geriatric psychiatry is essential for providing older persons with appropriate treatment and care. This study aimed to evaluate the prescription of drugs for mental disorders to older persons (>=65) in Sweden, focused on the medical specialties of the prescribing physicians.

Methods

Data concerning drug treatment for older persons from 2006 to 2008 was gathered from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register. Mental disorders, defined as affective, psychotic and anxiety disorders (ICD-10 F20-42) were evaluated in order to identify associated drugs. Included was a total of 188 024 older individuals, who collectively filled 2 013 079 prescriptions for the treatment of mental disorders. Descriptive analyses were performed, including frequency distribution and 95% CI. The competence of the prescribers was analyzed by subdividing them into five groups: geriatricians, psychiatrists, general practitioners (GPs), other specialists, and physicians without specialist education.

Results

GPs represented the main prescribers, whereas geriatricians and psychiatrists rarely prescribed drugs to older persons. Benzodiazepines and tricyclic antidepressants were the most commonly prescribed drugs. Women were prescribed drugs from geriatricians and psychiatrists to a greater extent than men.

Conclusions

This study examined the prescription of psychotropic drugs to older persons. Physicians specialized in older persons' disorders and mental health were rarely the prescribers of these drugs. Contrary to clinical guidelines, benzodiazepines and tricyclic antidepressants were commonly prescribed to older persons, emphasizing the need for continuous examination of pharmaceutical treatment for older persons. The results indicate a future need of more specialists in geriatrics and psychiatry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 12, no 197
Keywords [en]
Aged, Geriatric, Mental disorders, Older persons, Physicians, Prescribing, Psychiatry, Psychotropic drugs, Register-based
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Care Sciences within Health and Welfare
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-16254DOI: 10.1186/1471-244X-12-197ISI: 000312664300001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84868653133OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-16254DiVA, id: diva2:571906
Projects
PhD Thesis - Older persons with mental disorders - health, care and health care situationsAvailable from: 2012-11-26 Created: 2012-11-26 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full textScopushttp://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-244X/12/197/abstract

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Wiklund Gustin, Lena

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