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The prescription of psychotropic drugs in psychiatric residential facilities: a national survey in Italy

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Tomasi R, de Girolamo G, Santone G, Picardi A, Micciolo R, Semisa D, Fava S for the PROGRES group. The prescription of psychotropic drugs in psychiatric residential facilities: a national survey in Italy.

Acta Psychiatr Scand 2005: 1–12. © 2005 Blackwell Munksgaard. Objective: 

This paper reports the prescriptions of psychotropic drugs made to 2962 patients living in 265 residential facilities (RFs) in Italy. Method: 

Structured interviews were administered to RF managers and staff to obtain data on patients’ sociodemographic and clinical characteristics; information about current drug prescriptions were obtained from clinical records. Results: 

Polypharmacy was common: on average, each treated patient was taking 2.7 drugs (±1.1). The association of one atypical antipsychotic with one benzodiazepine represented the most common prescription profile. The variable most consistently associated with a higher likelihood of receiving polypharmacy was a history of admission to an acute general hospital psychiatric ward in the previous 12 months. Many prescriptions were loosely related to specific diagnoses. Conclusion: 

Psychotropic drug prescription patterns for severe patients living in RFs are characterized by substantial rates of polypharmacy. Specific guidelines may be helpful for long-stay patients living in RFs, who exhibit complex care needs.

Keywords: drug utilization; polypharmacy; psychotropic drugs; residential facilities

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Mental Health, Bolzano 2: Psychiatric Clinic, United Hospitals of Ancona and Politechnic Marche University, Ancona 3: National Mental Health Project, National Institute of Health, Rome 4: Chair of Biostatistics, University of Trento, Trento 5: Department of Mental Health, Bari 6: Service of Clinical Psychology, District of Faenza, ASL of Ravenna, Italy

Publication date: 2006-03-01

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