Objective: To examine the prevalence of psychotropic medicine dispensing before and after older people enter residential care. Design: Retrospective national cohort study; analysis of Registry of Senior Australians (ROSA) data. Setting, participants: All concession card-holding residents of government-subsidised residential aged care facilities in Australia who entered residential care for at least three months between 1 April 2008 and 30 June 2015. Main outcome measures: Proportions of residents dispensed antipsychotic, benzodiazepine, or antidepressant medicines during the year preceding and the year after commencing residential care, by quarter. Results: Of 322 120 included aged care residents, 68 483 received at least one antipsychotic (21.3%; 95% CI, 21.1–21.4%), 98 315 at least one benzodiazepine (30.5%; 95% CI, 30.4–30.7%), and 122 224 residents at least one antidepressant (37.9%; 95% CI, 37.8–38.1%) during their first three months of residential care; 31 326 of those dispensed antipsychotics (45.7%), 38 529 of those dispensed benzodiazepines (39.2%), and 25 259 residents dispensed antidepressants (19.8%) had not received them in the year preceding their entry into care. During the first three months of residential care, the prevalence of antipsychotic (prevalence ratio [PR], 3.37; 95% CI, 3.31–3.43) and antidepressant dispensing (PR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.04–1.07) were each higher for residents with than for those without dementia; benzodiazepine dispensing was similar for both groups (PR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.99–1.02). Conclusions: Dispensing of psychotropic medicines to older Australians is high before they enter residential care but increases markedly soon after entry into care. Non-pharmacological behavioural management strategies are important for limiting the prescribing of psychotropic medicines for older people in the community or in residential care.
- Antidepressive agents
- Antipsychotic agents