Effects of antipsychotic withdrawal in elderly nursing home residents.

Thapa PB, Meador KG, Gideon P, Fought RL, Ray WA
J Am Geriatr Soc. 1994 42 (3): 280-6

PMID: 7907098 · DOI:10.1111/j.1532-5415.1994.tb01752.x

OBJECTIVE - To study the effects of antipsychotic withdrawal in elderly nursing home residents.

DESIGN - Longitudinal prospective study.

SETTING - 12 community nursing homes that participated in a randomized controlled trial of an educational program designed to reduce antipsychotic use.

SUBJECTS - 271 residents receiving antipsychotics at baseline and remaining in the home for approximately 6 months thereafter. These were placed into two groups: those with continued use of antipsychotics at follow-up (n = 207) and those with drug discontinued (n = 64).

MEASUREMENTS - Change between baseline and follow-up for several standard measurements. These included behavior problems, as reported by both regular care providers (Nursing Home Behavior Problem Scale) or a blinded study rater (items from the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale), observer-rated psychiatric symptoms (subset of the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale), and other standard tests of function (Activities of Daily Living, Mini-Mental State Examination, Geriatric Depression Scale, and Abnormal Involuntary Movements Scale).

RESULTS - The frequency of behavior problems did not increase in residents with antipsychotics discontinued. For these residents, observer-rated psychiatric symptoms decreased by 21% (P = 0.003), which resulted from a 27% decrease in adverse affective symptoms (P = 0.0002). Residents with drug discontinued had no deterioration in any of the measures of function.

CONCLUSION - In this sample, nursing home residents whose antipsychotics were discontinued had significantly improved affect and no discernable adverse effects.

MeSH Terms (14)

Activities of Daily Living Affect Aged Aged, 80 and over Antipsychotic Agents Behavior Cognition Dementia Female Humans Longitudinal Studies Male Nursing Homes Prospective Studies

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