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Change in psychotropic drug use among community-dwelling people aged 75 years and older in Finland: repeated cross-sectional population studies

  • Franciska Desplenter (a1) (a2) (a3), Charlotte Caenen (a1) (a3), Jolein Meelberghs (a1) (a3), Sirpa Hartikainen (a1) (a2) (a4), Raimo Sulkava (a5) (a6) and J. Simon Bell (a1) (a2) (a7)...

Background: Older people are at high risk of experiencing psychotropic-related adverse drug events. The objective of this study was to compare and contrast the use of psychotropic drugs among community-dwelling people aged ≥75 years in 1998 and 2004.

Methods: Comparable random samples of people aged ≥75 years were extracted from the population register in Kuopio, Finland, in 1998 (n = 700) and 2003 (n = 1000). In 1998 and 2004, 523 and 700 community-dwelling people respectively participated in nurse interviews, during which demographic, diagnostic and drug use data were elicited. Logistic regression was used to compute unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the prevalence of psychotropic drug use in 2004 compared to 1998.

Results: The unadjusted prevalence of total psychotropic (37.3% and 38.4%, OR 1.05; 95% CI 0.83–1.33), anxiolytic, hypnotic and sedative (29.6% and 31.3%, OR 1.08, 95% CI 0.85–1.38), and antidepressant (10.7% and 11.9%, OR 1.12, 95% CI 0.78–1.61) use were similar in 1998 and 2004. There was a decrease in the unadjusted prevalence of antipsychotic use (9.2% and 5.7%, OR 0.60; 95% CI 0.39–0.93). After adjusting for socioeconomic and health status differences, there was an increase in the prevalence of total psychotropic (adjusted OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.01–1.70) and antidepressant (OR 1.59, 95% CI 1.06–2.40) use.

Conclusion: The unadjusted prevalence of psychotropic drug use remained stable between 1998 and 2004. However, in adjusted analyses there was a small increase in the prevalence of any psychotropic drug use and antidepressant use specifically.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addresed to: J. Simon Bell, PhD, Research Director, Kuopio Research Center of Geriatric Care, PO Box 1627, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio 70211, Finland. Phone: +358 403553266; Fax: +358 17162424. Email:
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International Psychogeriatrics
  • ISSN: 1041-6102
  • EISSN: 1741-203X
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