PMID: 40688Nov 1, 1979

A survey of psychotropic drug prescriptions in an oncology population

L R DerogatisL M Adler


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%).


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Antipsychotic Effect
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