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Friday, September 8, 2017

Study questions why thousands with developmental disabilities are prescribed antipsychotics

Peter Goffin
The Toronto Star
Originally published August 23, 2017

Researchers with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences have called for “guidelines and training around antipsychotic prescribing and monitoring” for doctors, pharmacists and care home staff after finding that nearly 40 per cent of people with developmental disabilities were prescribed antipsychotic drugs at some point over a six-year period.

One-third of the patients prescribed antipsychotics had no documented diagnosis of mental illness, according to the study, which tracked more than 51,000 people with developmental disabilities who are eligible for provincial drug benefits.

“We don’t know, with the data, why this one person was prescribed or this (other) person was prescribed so we’re trying to almost guess at why,” said psychologist Yona Lunsky, lead author of the study.

“It could be behaviour, aggression, self-injury, agitation.”

For people with developmental disabilities who live in group homes, the rate of antipsychotic prescriptions was even higher.

About 56 percent of developmentally disabled group home residents were prescribed antipsychotics. Of those, around 43 percent had no documented mental health issues.

The article is here.