Examining Trends in the Administration of “As Needed” Medications to Inpatients With Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia

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The use of “pro re nata” (PRN) medication in patients with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) is common but may be a source of inappropriate medication administration.


To identify trends in the administration of PRN medications to inpatients with BPSD.


Retrospective chart audits were completed on inpatients with dementia who had PRN medications prescribed for aggression, agitation, or insomnia. Data collected included age, sex, time of day, day of week, medication used, and dementia diagnosis. Additionally, data regarding administration of ranged doses and concurrent use with regularly prescribed medications of the same class were collected.


A total of 170 inpatients with dementia were included. Over 50 346 bed days, 4000 PRNs were administered. Individuals were more likely to receive a PRN if they were younger, shortly after shift change, in the evening, or during the weekend. If a ranged dose is provided they are more likely to receive the higher dose. If they are receiving regularly scheduled medication from the same class, there is risk of double dosing.

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