Objective: To compare antipsychotic prescribing patterns in younger (aged 59 years or younger) and older (aged 60 years or older) patients with psychotic or mood disorders. Method: Pharmacy records of all patients discharged from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health over a 21-month period were reviewed. A total of 1357 patients who were prescribed an antipsychotic at the time of their discharge were included in the analysis (956 with a primary psychotic disorder and 401 with a primary mood disorder). World Health Organization-defined daily doses were used as the standardized dosing unit. Results: Both in patients with a primary psychotic disorder and in patients with a primary mood disorder, the prescribing patterns were similar in older and younger patients, with no statistical difference in the proportions receiving first-generation antipsychotics, second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs), multiple antipsychotics, or long-acting (depot) antipsychotics. Overall, the mean daily antipsychotic doses were lower only in the older group of patients with a primary mood disorder. However, the mean dose of SGAs was about 30% lower in older patients in both diagnostic groups. Regardless of age, patients with a mood disorder were prescribed lower doses of antipsychotics than those with a psychotic disorder. Conclusions: Our data suggest that older patients are prescribed lower antipsychotic dosages primarily when using SGAs. This finding emphasizes the need for dose-finding studies assessing both the efficacy and the safety of antipsychotics in older patients with a psychotic or mood disorder.
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