Author(s): Derogatis LR, Feldstein M, Morrow G, Schmale A, Schmitt M,
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Abstract The present study examined the prescription practices concerning psychotropic drugs in 5 major oncology centers over a 6 month period. During the survey period 1579 patients were admitted to the collaborating institutions, and 51\% of them were prescribed at least one psychotropic medication. Hypnotics were the most frequently prescribed drugs, accounting for 48\% of total prescriptions, followed by anti-psychotics at 26\% and anti-anxiety agents at 25\%. Anti-depressant drugs accounted for only 1\% of psychotropic prescriptions. Analysis of prescription rationales revealed that 44\% of the psychotropic prescriptions were written for sleep, while 25\% were given for nausea and vomiting; approximately 17\% were attributed to psychological distress, and 12\% were associated with diagnostic medical procedures. The overall rate of prescription was approximately 2 psychotropic drugs per patient per admission, with only 2\% of prescriptions resulting in chart-documented side effects. At the level of individual compounds, 3 distinct drugs accounted for 72\% of total prescriptions--flurazepam (33\%), prochlorperazine (21\%), and diazepam (17\%).
This article was published in Cancer
and referenced in Advances in Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety