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Trends in treatment with antipsychotic medication in relation to national directives, in people with dementia - a review of the Swedish context

  • Staffan Karlsson
  • Ingalill Rahm Hallberg
  • Patrik Midlöv
  • Cecilia Fagerström
Publishing year: 2017-07-14
Language: English
Publication/Series: BMC Psychiatry
Volume: 17
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: BioMed Central

Abstract english

Background: The aim of this study was to explore trends in treatment with antipsychotic medication in Swedish dementia care in nursing homes as reported in the most recent empirical studies on the topic, and to relate these trends to directives from the national authorities. Methods: The study included two scoping review studies based on searches of electronic databases as well as the Swedish directives in the field. Results: During the past decade, directives have been developed for antipsychotic medication in Sweden. These directives were generic at first, but have become increasingly specific and restrictive with time. The scoping review showed that treatment with antipsychotic drugs varied between 6% and 38%, and was higher in younger older persons and in those with moderate cognitive impairment and living in nursing homes for people with dementia. A decreasing trend in antipsychotic use has been seen over the last 15 years. Conclusions: Directives from the authorities in Sweden may have had an impact on treatment with antipsychotic medication for people with dementia. Treatment with antipsychotic medication has decreased, while treatment with combinations of psychotropic medications is common. National directives may possibly be even more effective, if applied in combination with systematic follow-ups.


  • Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences
  • Geriatrics
  • Antipsychotic medication
  • Dementia
  • Directive
  • Drug utilization


  • Older people's health and Person-Centred care
  • Family Medicine and Community Medicine
  • ISSN: 1471-244X
Ingalill Rahm Hallberg
E-mail: ingalill [dot] rahm_hallberg [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor emerita

Health-promoting Complex Interventions