Time trends in psychotropic drug prescriptions in Dutch nursing home residents with dementia between 2003 and 2018

Jiamin Du*, Sarah Janus, Brenda Voorthuis, Jeannette van Manen, Wilco Achterberg, Martin Smalbrugge, Sandra Zwijsen, Debby Gerritsen, Raymond Koopmans, Sytse Zuidema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective: Several European studies investigated the trends in psychotropic drug prescriptions (PDPs) among nursing home (NH) residents and reported a decline in antipsychotics prescriptions. Since the Dutch long-term care system differs from other European systems (e.g. higher threshold for NH admission and trained elderly care physicians), this study explores the trends in PDPs in Dutch NH residents with dementia. Methods: The study used data from nine studies, comprising two cross-sectional studies, one cohort study, and six cluster-randomized controlled trials, collected in Dutch NHs between 2003 and 2018. With multilevel logistic regression analysis, NHs as a random effect, we estimated the trends in PDPs overall and for five specific psychotropic drug groups (antipsychotics, antidepressants, anxiolytics, hypnotics, and anti-dementia drugs), adjusting for confounders: age, gender, severity of dementia, severity of neuropsychiatric symptoms, and length of stay in NHs. Results: The absolute prescription rate of antipsychotics was 37.5% in 2003 and decreased (OR = 0.947, 95% CI [0.926, 0.970]) every year. The absolute prescription rate of anti-dementia drugs was 0.8% in 2003 and increased (OR = 1.162, 95% CI [1.105, 1.223]) per year. The absolute rate of overall PDPs declined from 62.7% in 2003 to 40.4% in 2018. Conclusions: Among Dutch NH residents with dementia, the odds of antipsychotics prescriptions decreased by 5.3% per year while the odds of anti-dementia drug prescriptions increased by 16.2%. There were no distinct trends in antidepressants, anxiolytics, and hypnotics prescriptions. However, overall PDPs were still high. The PDPs in NH residents remain an issue of concern.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberGPS5697
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • dementia
  • nursing home
  • psychotropic drugs


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