27 April 2012

British Journal of General Practice May 2012

Too many psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs are being prescribed in nursing homes in England and Wales, warn researchers writing in this month’s British Journal of General Practice (BJGP).

Sunil Shah and colleagues from St George’s University, London found that drugs such as antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and anticholinergic antihistamines are prescribed much more frequently in nursing homes than in the community.

The drugs have the potential to cause harmful side effects which the researchers say may  also contribute to functional and cognitive decline in a vulnerable group. The study Quality of prescribing in care homes and the community in England and Wales is available in the May issue of the BJGP1.

Also in the May issue of the BJGP:
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh say that terminally ill patients, especially those with non-cancer diagnoses, are not being included in general practice palliative care registers. Nadine Harrison and colleagues found that of over 200 patients dying during a six-month period, less than one third had been included in practice palliative care registers  Patients on the registers were more likely to die at home than in hospital2.


The BJGP is the leading journal of family medicine in Europe and is distributed free of charge every month to over 45,000 GPs.

Although it is published by the RCGP, it has complete editorial independence. Opinions expressed in the BJGP should not be taken to represent the policy of the RCGP unless this is specifically stated.

  1. Quality of prescribing in care homes and the community in England and Wales, Br. J Gen Pract 2012.Br J Gen Pract 2012; DOI: 10.3399/bjgp12X641447. Shah SM, Carey IM, Harris T, DeWilde S, Cook DG.
  2. Are UK primary care teams formally identifying patients for palliative care before they die? Br JGenPract 2012; DOI: 10.3399/bjgp12X641465. Harrison N, Cavers D, Campbell C, Murray SA.

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