The impact of legislation on psychotropic drug use in nursing homes: A cross-national perspective

Carmel M. Hughes, Kate L. Lapane, Vincent Mor, Naoki Ikegami, P. V. Jonsson, Gunnar Ljunggren, Antonio Sgadari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To quantify the impact of legislation on nursing home residents, psychotropic drug use, and the occurrence of falls in the US compared with five countries with no such regulation. DESIGN: A retrospective cross-sectional study SETTING: Nursing homes in five US states and selected nursing homes in Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Japan, and Sweden PARTICIPANTS: Residents in nursing homes in five US states and the aforementioned countries during 1993-1996 MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Using data collected using the Minimum Data Set, logistic regression provided estimates of the legislative effects on the use of antipsychotics and antianxiety/hypnotics while simultaneously adjusting for potential confounders. The occurrence of falls was evaluated similarly. RESULTS: Prevalence of antipsychotic and/or antianxiety/hypnotic use varied substantially across countries. After adjustment for differences in age, gender, presence of psychiatric/neurologic conditions, and physical and cognitive functioning, residents in Denmark, Italy, and Sweden were at least twice as likely to receive these drugs (Denmark Odds Ratio (OR) = 2.32; 95% Confidence Intervals (CI), 2.15-2.51; Italy OR = 2.05; 95% CI, 1.78-2.34; Sweden OR = 2.50; 95% CI, 2.16-2.90); in Iceland, the risk was increased to greater than 6 times (OR = 6.54; 95% CI, 5.75-7.44) that of the US. Residents were less likely to fall in Italy, Iceland, and Japan compared with the US, despite more extensive use of psychotropic medication, whereas residents in Sweden and Denmark were more likely to fall. CONCLUSIONS: Policy has had an impact on the prescribing of psychotropic medication in US nursing homes compared with other countries, but it is unclear if this is translated into better outcomes for residents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-937
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Other keywords

  • Cross-national comparison
  • Nursing homes
  • Older people
  • Prescribing
  • Psychotropic medication


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