Potentially inappropriate prescriptions in patients admitted to a psychiatric hospital

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Background Very little is known about the general appropriateness of prescribing for psychiatric patients. Aims To identify prevalence and types of potentially inappropriate prescribing (PIP) of psychotropic and somatic medications, to assess the severity of potential clinical consequences and to identify possible predictive factors of PIP in a sample of adult psychiatric in-patients. Methods A descriptive, cross-sectional design using medication reviews by clinical pharmacologists to identify PIP during a 3-month period. The setting was in-patient units in a psychiatric department of a Danish university hospital during a 3-month period (September 2013-November 2013). Patients medication lists (n = 207) were reviewed at the time of admission and all identified PIPs were assessed for potential consequences by clinical pharmacologists. Results There were 349 PIP identified in 1291 prescriptions. The proportion of patients found to have at least one PIP was 123/207 (59%) and the proportions of patients with at least one PIP assessed to be potentially serious or fatal was 69/207 (33%) and 24/207 (12%), respectively. Interactions between drugs 125/207 (36%) and too high doses of drugs 56/207 (16%) were the most frequent PIP. Predictive factors for PIP were polypharmacy (>5 prescriptions) and having one or more somatic diagnoses. Conclusion PIP is common in psychiatric patients and potentially fatal. Particularly polypharmacy (>5 prescriptions) and concomitant somatic illness were associated with the probability of PIP. Improving the quality of prescribing might benefit from an interprofessional approach and thus better training of physicians and nurses is needed in order to minimize PIP.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Journal of Psychiatry
Pages (from-to)365-373
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2016

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