Changes in the prescription of psychotropic drugs in the palliative care of advanced cancer patients over a seven-year period
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 03/26/2012
Farriols C et al. – Between 2002 and 2009, there was a significant increase in the use of psychotropic drugs and a change in the profile of drugs prescribed.Methods
- All patients with advanced disease receiving palliative care between 2002 and 2009 were eligible.
- The consumption of benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and antidepressants for the years 2002, 2006, and 2009 was compared.
- Data on the percentage and profile of psychotropic drugs prescribed were collected.
- The study population included 840 patients (241 in 2002, 274 in 2006, and 325 in 2009).
- The percentage of patients treated with psychotropic drugs increased from 82.2% in 2002 to 90.2% in 2009 (P=0.006) and the mean number of drugs per patient from 1.66 in 2002 to 2.16 in 2006 (P=0.003), and to 2.35 in 2009 (P<0.001).
- Benzodiazepines were prescribed to 72.6% of patients in 2002 and 84% in 2009 (P=0.001), with lorazepam and midazolam as the most frequently used medications.
- The use of antipsychotics increased from 26.1% in 2002 to 37.2% in 2006 (P=0.007) and to 40% in 2009 (P=0.001), with haloperidol and risperidone as the most commonly prescribed.
- Antidepressants were prescribed to 17.8% in 2002, 28.1% in 2006 (P=0.006), and 27.1% in 2009 (P=0.010), with mirtazapine, citalopram, escitalopram, and duloxetine as the most frequent.