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BMC Research Notes

, 8:218



BackgroundThe pharmacotherapeutic management of agitation is a common clinical challenge. Pharmacotherapy is frequently used, the use of published guidelines is not known. The purpose of this study was twofold; to describe the prescribing patterns of psychiatrists and emergency physicians and to evaluate to which extent guidelines are used.

MethodsA cross-sectional survey in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium is carried out in 39 psychiatric hospitals, 11 psychiatric wards of a general hospital and 61 emergency departments. All physicians are asked for demographic information, their prescribing preferences, their use of guidelines and the type of monitoring effectiveness, safety. For the basic demographic data and prescription preferences descriptive statistics are given. For comparing prescribing preferences of the drug between groups Chi square tests or in case of low numbers Fisher’s exact test were performed. Mc Nemar test for binomial proportions for matched-pair data was performed to see if the prescription preferences of the participants differ between secluded and non-secluded patients.

Results550 psychiatrist and emergency physicians were invited. The overall response rate was 20% n = 108. The number 1 preferred medication classes were antipsychotics 59.3% and benzodiazepines 40.7%. In non-secluded patients, olanzapine 22.2%, lorazepam 21.3% and clotiapine 19.4% were most frequently picked as number 1 choice drug. In secluded patients, clotiapine 21.3%, olanzapine 21.3% and droperidol 14.8% were the three most frequently chosen number 1 preferred drugs. Between-group comparisons show that emergency physicians prefer benzodiazepines significantly more than psychiatrists do. Zuclopenthixol and olanzapine show a particular profile in both groups of physicians. Polypharmacy is more frequently used in secluded patients. Published guidelines and safety or outcome monitoring are rarely used.

ConclusionsOur results show that prescription practice in Flanders Belgium in acute agitation shows a complex relationship with published guidelines. Prescription preferences differ accordingly to medical specialty. These findings should be taken into account in future research.

KeywordsAgitation Rapid tranquillisation Emergency psychiatry Guidelines  Download fulltext PDF

Autor: Chris Bervoets - Ella Roelant - Jürgen De Fruyt - Hella Demunter - Barry Dekeyser - Leen Vandenbussche - Koen Titeca - Gui


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