Concern over use of psychotropic drugs in NI care homes

Thursday 21 February 2013 10.33
Psychotropic drugs are products that affect the mood or mind
Psychotropic drugs are products that affect the mood or mind

A study by Queen's University Belfast has found that the dispensing of psychotropic drugs to older people in Northern Ireland increases upon entry to care homes.

According to the research, anti-psychotic drug dispensing in older people more than doubled from 8.2% before entry to care homes to 18.6% after entering care.

Psychotropic drugs are products that affect the mood or mind.

There is ongoing international concern that the medication is sometimes used as a form of chemical restraint for older people, especially those resident in nursing homes.

The study analysed prescribing data in the North for over 250,000 people, aged 65 and over, from 2008 to 2010.

The study showed that in January 2009,  21% of those in care homes were being given an anti-psychotic drugs, while the figure for those in the community was 1.1%.

Professor Carmel Hughes from the Queen's School of Pharmacy said with a globally ageing population, it is important we look at the reasons behind these patterns in care homes.