Persistent use of psychotropic drugs in nursing home residents in Norway

Anne Sofie Helvik, Jūratė Šaltytė Benth, Bei Wu, Knut Engedal, Geir Selbæk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The prevalence of psychotropic drug (PTD) use in NH residents is high, but few have explored prevalence and persistency in PTD in NH residents and factors associated with persistency. This at the same time as we know that risk of side events may be higher with long- term use in older adults. Thus, the aim of this study was to describe the prevalence and persistence in use of PTD and to explore factors associated with persistence in use of PTD at two consecutive time points in nursing home (NH) residents. Methods: We included 1163 NH residents in a 72-month longitudinal study with five assessments. Use of PTD, neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS), severity of dementia and physical health were assessed each time. Results: The prevalence over time and persistent use of antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants, anxiolytics and sedatives at two consecutive time points were high in residents with and without dementia. There was an association between greater NPS at the first time point, and persistent use of these drugs, but changes in NPS between time points, did not explain such use. A longer NH stay increased the odds for persistent use of antipsychotics. Conclusion: Psychotropic drugs are frequently used as a long-term treatment among NH residents and are associated with severity of neuropsychiatric symptoms, but not with severity of dementia. Closer attention should be paid to follow-up of psychotropic drug treatment, and especially for long -term use of antipsychotics, since the duration of such treatment should be as short as possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number52
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 13 2017


  • ATC
  • Dementia
  • Geriatrics
  • Long-term-use
  • Neuropsychiatric symptoms
  • Old age
  • Older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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