Antipsychotic Use During Pandemic

Angie Szumlinski Health, Studies

In a recent study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine Network, the use of psychotropic medications among nursing home residents in Ontario, Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic was discussed. The study examined the monthly proportion of nursing home residents who were prescribed psychotropic drugs as a proportion of the monthly number of residents filling a prescription for any drug from April 2018 to September 2020.

Prescribing patterns for 4 classes of psychotropic medications were reviewed: antipsychotics, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and trazodone. What was identified from March to September 2020: “absolute increases in the mean monthly proportion of nursing home residents who received prescriptions for antipsychotic medications, antidepressant medications, and trazodone compared with January to February 2020”.

So what happened during this time period? Isolation. Restricted visitation. PPE that interfered with resident/staff interaction. Meals served in resident rooms, alone. Yes, to combat the silent killed, the COVID-19 virus, we did what we needed to do at the time. This study highlights the importance of balancing infection prevention and control measures with well-being of residents. A worthwhile read for sure and maybe take a look at your current pharmacy report to be sure you aren’t a center with increases in antipsychotic medications! Stay well, stay informed and stay tuned!