Interprovincial Variation of Psychotropic Prescriptions Dispensed to Older Canadian Adults [2018]


Utilization of psychotropic medications among the elderly has garnered attention due to concerns about safety and degree of efficacy, but may be used differently across regions.


We conducted a cross-sectional study of all antipsychotic, benzodiazepine, and trazodone prescriptions dispensed to seniors ( ≥ 65 years) leveraging IQVIA (Durham, NC) GPM data in 2013. We report the units dispensed (per 100 seniors) by province.


Nationally, on average, 26,210 units of antipsychotics, 24,257 of benzodiazepines, and 7,519 of trazodone were dispensed in 2013 for every 100 seniors; reports varied across Canada.

The rate of antipsychotic and benzodiazepine prescribing was highest in New Brunswick (AP: 35,375 units per 100, BZD: 43,989 units per 100), and lowest in Newfoundland & Labrador for antipsychotics (20,974 per 100) and Saskatchewan for benzodiazepines (12,692 per 100). Trazodone unit dispensation rates were highest in Nova Scotia (9,164 per 100) and lowest in Newfoundland & Labrador (2,968 per 100).


There is considerable geographic variation in the prescribing patterns of antipsychotics, benzodiazepine, and trazodone. This study serves as the first step in understanding these differences, while future work is needed to develop region specific strategies to optimize the prescribing of psychotropic medications to older Canadian adults.

Cody D. Black, Lisa McCarthy, Tara Gomes, Muhammad Mamdani, David Juurlink, Mina Tadrous

Canadian Geriatrics Journal, Vol 21, No 3 (2018)