Prescribing of Antipsychotic Drugs in Older People in the UK: a cohort study using UK primary care data
- Principal Investigator: Betsy Jones
- 1 September 2019 to 31 January 2020
- Project No: 444
- Funding round: FR17
Antipsychotic drugs can be prescribed for severe mental illness, such as for schizophrenia or bipolar
disorder, and for severe depression or anxiety. Antipsychotics are also commonly used as sedation,
for example in people with dementia who are agitated or aggressive. Antipsychotic drugs can be very
helpful and effective medications but must be prescribed and used correctly to avoid harmful effects,
especially in older people and those with dementia.
Some research suggests that older patients may be prescribed antipsychotic drugs that are not to their
benefit, which can put them at risk of serious harm. Antipsychotic use has also been linked to weight
gain, increasing risk of becoming overweight and obese. People who are overweight or obese are at
increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers, making weight gain a serious side effect
of antipsychotic drugs.
Our study aims to describe the prescribing of antipsychotic drugs to older people in primary care and
their weight change after starting antipsychotic drugs. We want to understand how many older people
are being prescribed antipsychotic drugs, if that number is increasing, and potential weight change after
starting antipsychotic drugs. The findings can help improve guidance for general practitioners and
pharmacists when prescribing these drugs to older people.
Amount awarded: £30 000