Psychotropic prescribing in a Scottish cohort of adults with learning disabilities
Studies report high rates of prescribing of psychotropic medications to people with learning disabilities, not correlating with reported rates of mental illness. The aim of this research is to analyse trends in the use of psychotropic drugs for adults with learning disabilities in Scotland.
This analysis of psychotropic prescribing trends draws on two sources of data about adults with learning disabilities in the same Scottish health board area over 10 years. The first a large prospective, cohort study; and the second from electronically extracted primary care records. Demographics and health status were analysed to identify potential influencing factors.
In 2004 anti-psychotic drugs were prescribed to 23.2% of adults in the cohort, in 2014/15 this was 19.0% whilst prescribing of anti-depressants increased from 11.9% to 25.8% across the same period.
There have been changes in psychotropic drug prescribing over 10 years however these drugs are still prescribed at higher than expected rates. This study includes data from comprehensive mental health assessments enabling some analysis of the association between rates of mental illness and psychotropic prescribing.
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Trends in antipsychotic prescribing in children and young people with autism and/or learning disabilities in Scotland, between 2009 and 2013
A small number of studies have reported high rates of antipsychotic prescribing in children and young people with challenging behaviours. However, no study has been found to analyse the rates of antipsychotic prescribing for children and young people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism, compared to the rates in the general population. This study will analyse trends in the rate of antipsychotic prescribing in children and young people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism between 2009 and 2013 in Scotland.
The ‘Pupil Census’ which consists of information from publically funded primary, secondary and special schools in Scotland and the ‘Prescribing Information System’ which contains information on encashed prescriptions in Scotland will be linked and analysed for this study. The association between antipsychotic prescribing in children and young people with autism and/or learning disabilities and in those without additional support needs will be examined using logistic regression models.
Data collation and linkage is ongoing. On completion, descriptive statistics for key variables such as age, additional support provided, number and class of antipsychotic prescription as well as odds ratios will be reported.
The substantial health impacts of antipsychotic medications are well documented. This study will provide valuable longitudinal evidence on the use of antipsychotic medications in children and young people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism compared to those without additional support needs. Comparison of prescribing practices across Scottish health boards will enable targeted action to ensure that antipsychotic prescribing is in line with good clinical practice.
For further information on this project, please contact Marian Okon