Appropriate Use of Psychotropic Drugs in Nursing Homes
Am Fam Physician. 2000 Mar 1;61(5):1437-1446.
The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1987 limited the use of psychotropic medications in residents of long-term care facilities. Updates of OBRA guidelines have liberalized some dosing restrictions, but documentation of necessity and periodic trials of medication withdrawal are still emphasized. Antidepressant drugs are typically underutilized in nursing homes. Tricyclic antidepressants have many side effects and thus are not preferred medications in elderly patients. Anxiety and insomnia are common problems in the institutionalized elderly. If behavioral measures are not successful, antidepressant medications with shorter half-lives may avoid drug accumulation, which can lead to excessive sedation, cognitive impairment and an increased risk for falls. In the elderly, antipsychotic medications can cause serious side effects, such as extrapyramidal symptoms and tardive dyskinesia. Newer…
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