Article Text

Download PDFPDF
A cross-sectional study of psychotropic drug use in the elderly: Consuming patterns, risk factors and potentially inappropriate use


Objectives The aims of the present study were: (1) to describe psychotropic drug consumption patterns in an outpatient population aged 65 years and older; (2) to determine the impact of a number of demographic and clinical factors on psychotropic consumption; and (3) to determine the ratio of potentially inappropriate psychotropic agents prescribed to the above population.

Methods Cross-sectional, observational study of outpatients aged 65 years and older. Data on sociodemographic and clinical variables were collected. Psychotropic drugs were classified into three categories: anxiolytics-hypnotics, antidepressants, and antipsychotics. To determine the risk factors for psychotropic drug use among these patients, a multivariate logistic regression model was developed and subsequently validated using bootstrap resampling techniques. To identify the psychotropic drugs to be avoided, a review of treatments received by the patients was performed based on the 2015 version of the Beers criteria.

Results The study included 225 outpatients of whom 30.7% were on psychotropic drugs for chronic treatment. The highest likelihood of psychotropic utilisation corresponded to the following profile: female, living in a nursing home, having two or more prescribing physicians, and having received six or more different diagnoses. According to Beers criteria, 51 patients (22.7% of the sample and 73.9% of patients on psychotropic drugs) had been prescribed at least one potentially inappropriate psychotropic drug.

Conclusion Elderly patients commonly use psychotropic medications and are the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of these drugs. It is necessary to re-evaluate the pertinence and accuracy of these medical prescriptions.

  • psychotropic drugs
  • aged
  • ambulatory care
  • inappropriate prescribing
  • potentially inappropriate medication list

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.