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SPCR research published in the BMJ Open reveals that a large proportion of people prescribed antipsychotics have no record of psychotic or bipolar disorder. In a press release, issued by the BMJ on 19 December, researchers at UCL assert that elderly people are twice as likely as middle aged to be given antipsychotic drugs to treat schizophrenia, delusional disorders and bipolar disorder despite greater risk of side effects.

Elderly people are more likely to be prescribed antipsychotic drugs
The cohort study, conducted between 2007 and 2011, revealed that antipsychotics were more likely to be prescribed to females, older people and people from poorer areas and most patients took the newer types of (second generation) antipsychotics and almost a third were prescribed to older (first generation) antipsychotics.  More than half of those receiving first generation antipsychotics did not have a diagnosis schizophrenia, other psychotic conditions or bipolar affective disorder, in their records.  Many people had other diagnoses in their notes.  For example in those taking the newer antipsychotic risperidone 14% had anxiety recorded, 22% had depression, 12% dementia. 

Senior Research Statistician Dr Louise Marston and researchers at UCL's Primary Care and Population Health and Division of Psychiatry conclude that patients who were prescribed antipsychotics should be monitored for side effects including weight gain, poor glucose control, and increased cholesterol. More effort should be made to decrease antipsychotic prescribing in people with dementia, since this is not recommended by guidelines.

The BMJ article  Prescribing of antipsychotics in UK primary care: A cohort study

The BMJ press release Less than half of UK prescriptions for antipsychotics issued for main licensed conditions

Onmedica news 'Less than half of antipsychotic drug prescriptions issued for main licenced conditions'

A Mental Elf blog by Louise Marston was published on 4 February
Prescribing antipsychotics in primary care: new study highlights frequent off-label use