Can the PROPER intervention reduce psychotropic drug prescription in nursing home residents with dementia? Results of a cluster-randomized controlled trial

C H W Smeets*, M Smalbrugge, R T C M Koopmans, M H J M G Nelissen-Vrancken, K van der Spek, S Teerenstra, D L Gerritsen, S U Zuidema

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objectives:To evaluate the effect of the PROPER intervention in nursing home residents with dementia on the prevalence of psychotropic drug use and neuropsychiatric symptoms.Design:A cluster-randomized controlled design with two parallel groups (intervention versus usual care) and assessments at 0, 6, 12, and 18 months.Setting:Thirty-one dementia special care units within 13 long-term care organizations in the Netherlands.Participants:Three hundred eighty nursing home residents with dementiaIntervention:The PROPER intervention consisted of a structured and repeated multidisciplinary medication review, supported by education and continuous evaluation.Measurements:Prescriptions of antipsychotics, antidepressants, anxiolytics, and hypnotics, and occurrence of neuropsychiatric symptoms.Results:The prescription of any type of psychotropic drugs increased in the intervention group, and decreased in the control group, with an estimated difference of 3.9 percentage points per 6 months (p = 0.01). Effects for the individual drug groups were minor (differences of 1.6 percentage points and below per 6 months) and not statistically significant. The occurrence of neuropsychiatric symptoms remained stable in both the intervention and control groups during the follow-up of 18 months.Conclusions:The PROPER intervention failed to demonstrate effectiveness in reducing the prevalence of psychotropic drugs. It may be interesting to enrich the intervention with components that address personal attitudes and communication between nursing home professionals, not only with respect to the prescription of psychotropic drugs, but also to neuropsychiatric symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577–586
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Psychogeriatrics
Issue number6
Early online date20-May-2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2021

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