Objective: Availability of new psychotropic agents, and formulations, as well as expanded indications for previously available agents, has had an impact on prescribing patterns in community psychiatric practice. This study tracked changes in patient diagnostic profiles and compared antipsychotic prescribing patterns for patients managed by a continuing care team over a 2.25-year period. Method: Data pertaining to patient diagnoses and psychotropic medications was obtained from sequential cross-sectional file review and the pharmacy database. Data were collected in late 2004 (n = 224) and early 2007 (n = 294). Results: The majority of patients suffered from DSM-IV schizophrenia, schizoaffective and related disorders (68% in 2004, 71% in 2007). Second generation antipsychotic (SGA) medications (79% in 2004, 99% in 2007 of all antipsychotics) were the most widely used agents. Use of quetiapine as a proportion of all oral SGAs increased (8% to 17%) as did that of long-acting risperidone (<1% to 17% of all antipsychotics) paralleled by a decline in long-acting first generation antipsychotic agents (15% to <1%). Significant changes in the prescription of non-benzodiazepine hypnotics and mood stabilizers were also noted. Conclusions: Statistically significant changes in prescribing patterns of antipsychotics during the study period were noted. Likely causes are discussed.
- Community psychiatry