The aim of the study was to assess the response to the guidance from the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) on prescribing olanzapine and risperidone for older adults. Information on 96 older patients who were prescribed olanzapine or risperidone was gathered from psychiatric case notes, general practitioners and care homes. Data were gathered 10 weeks after the CSM guidance (Time 1) and again 6 months later (Time 2).
At Time 1, 71 out of 96 patients (74%) had been reviewed and 90 (94%) by Time 2. By 6 months after the guidance 34 of 52 patients with dementia (65%) and 10 of 35 patients with functional diagnoses had been withdrawn from medication; 29% (14/49) of those withdrawn from medication had significant problems associated with withdrawal. In many cases medication was continued following risk–benefit decisions taken at review and despite CSM guidance.
Guidance has prompted review of prescribing in existing patients and some re-referrals, which has increased workload. The guidance has changed the management of existing patients, but there has been a high rate of associated clinical problems and numerous patients remain on, or return to, olanzapine or risperidone.
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