The purpose of this paper is to examine the prescribed psychotropic medications taken by newly referred people with a range of substance use disorders (SUD) who attend a specialist community addiction service.
Anonymised data on newly referred people (n=1,537) with SUD attending a specialist community addiction service for their first episode of treatment between August 2007 and July 2010 were obtained from the database of the service. Data were cleaned and the percentage of people taking prescribed psychotropic medications at their first episode of treatment was calculated.
More than half (56.1 percent) of people attending the service were taking prescribed antidepressants and anxiolytics at their first episode of treatment whilst 15.2 percent of people were taking prescribed antipsychotics. Alcohol and opioids were the primary referral substances for 77.4 percent and 15.2 percent of people respectively. People referred for “other” substances (cannabis, stimulants, sedatives, hallucinogens, solvents and polydrug use) made up the remaining 7.5 percent and had the highest percentage of prescribed psychotropics (antipsychotics=47 percent, antidepressants and anxiolytics=64.3 percent) compared to those referred for alcohol and opioids (p<0.0005).
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study of psychotropic prescribing among people with a range of SUD in the UK. The high prevalence of psychotropic prescribing raises questions about the appropriateness of these prescriptions and calls for scrutiny of prescribing practice in this group of people.
Obirenjeyi Oluyase, A., Raistrick, D., Abbasi, Y., Dale, V. and Lloyd, C. (2013), "A study of the psychotropic prescriptions of people attending an addiction service in England", Advances in Dual Diagnosis, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 54-65. https://doi.org/10.1108/ADD-03-2013-0005Download as .RIS
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