QUALYOP project 2: Monitoring the dismantling of Italian psychiatric hospitals. Psychotropic drug use in 1072 inpatients

Corrado Barbui, Barbara D'Avanzo, Lucilla Frattura, Benedetto Saraceno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective - This study describes the use of psychotropic drugs in a sample of eight Italian psychiatric hospitals. Methods - A cross-sectional approach was used to collect information about sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of the inpatient population, and about medications prescribed. Prescribing behaviour in the hospitals was compared using three indicators: the number of patients taking psychotropic drugs, the use of high doses of neuroleptics and the use of multiple neuroleptics. Results - More than a thousand patients were resident in the eight hospitals on the census day, 56% of them males. Half the population had an ICD-X diagnosis of schizophrenia, one third of mental retardation. Sixty-nine percent of the sample was on neuroleptic therapy, nearly 47% on benzodiazepines and 4% on antidepressants. Twenty percent of the sample did not take any psychotropic drug on the census day. After adjustment for sociodemographic and clinical variables, setting-related variables resulted as determinants of psychotropic drug use. Conclusions - These data call for continuing education in psychopharmacology towards a more rational use of drugs; longitudinal audits of clinical practice should be implemented to guide clinicians toward a more rational use of psychotropic drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-337
Number of pages7
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Drug utilization
  • Psychiatric hospitals
  • Psychotropic drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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