Sedative prescribing among older people doubles with move into residential care, finds study

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 26 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1272
  1. Caroline White
  1. 1London

The proportion of older people who receive mood altering drugs increases sharply when they move into residential care, a rise that is not fully explained by prescribing rates before admission, a study from Northern Ireland has found.

The findings back up those of other studies in the United Kingdom and are likely to fuel concerns that drugs such as sedatives, tranquillisers, and antipsychotics may be being used as a form of “chemical cosh” among older people in residential care.

In the latest study, researchers from Queen’s University in Belfast drew on national prescribing data on the numbers of psychotropic drugs prescribed to all people aged 65 years or over in Northern Ireland between 2008 and 2010 and data on people’s moves into 345 …

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