Atypical antipsychotic prescribing in elderly patients with depression

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Abstract

Background:

Atypical antipsychotics are used as monotherapy or as augmentation therapy for management of late-life depression. However, little is known about utilization pattern of atypical antipsychotics in depression in the elderly.

Objective:

The objective of this study was to examine the prescribing practices and predictors of atypical antipsychotics and augmentation therapy in elderly outpatient visits with depression.

Methods:

This retrospective cross-sectional study used the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) and outpatient department component of the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) data from 2010 and 2011. The study included elderly (age ≥ 65years) outpatient visits with depression. Descriptive weighted analysis was performed to determine the prescribing practices of atypical antipsychotics and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to determine the factors associated with the prescription of atypical antipsychotics and augmentation therapy in outpatient visits.

Results:

According to the national surveys, there were about 22 million outpatent visits for depression during the study period; atypical antipsychotics were prescribed in 3.53% (95% CI, 2.02–5.04) of the visits. Among depression patients who were using antidepressants, 4.86% (95% CI, 3.07–6.04) used as an augmentation therapy. Multivariable regression analysis revealed that Hispanics (odds ratio [OR] = 0.33; 95% CI, 0.12–0.90) were associated with decreased likelihood of antipsychotic prescription, whereas personality disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder (OR = 10.23; 95% CI, 2.80–37.40) were associated with increased likelihood of prescribing antipsychotics. For augmentation therapy, Hispanics (OR = 0.06; 95% CI, 0.02–0.24) and primary physicians (OR = 0.24; 95% CI, 0.09–0.69) were associated with decreased likelihood; and obsessive compulsive disorder and personality disorder (OR = 7.56; 95% CI, 1.75–32.69) were associated with increased likelihood of antipsychotic prescription.

Conclusion:

Less than 4% of the elderly visits with depression were prescribed atypical antipsychotics. Both clinical and demographic factors contribute to antipsychotic prescribing in elderly patients with depression.

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