Geographic variation in psychotropic drug utilisation among older people in New Zealand

Henry C. Ndukwe, Ting Wang, June M. Tordoff, Matthew J. Croucher, Prasad S. Nishtala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)


Aim: To examine psychotropic drug utilisation in older people in New Zealand by age, sex, health board domicile and deprivation status. Methods: A repeated cross-sectional analysis of population-based drug utilisation data stratified by age, sex, ethnicity, health board and deprivation status was conducted from 2005 to 2013. Results: Psychotropic utilisation increased between 2005 and 2013 (ranging from 7.0 to 74.0%) across all the health boards. In people aged 85 years and above, the hypnotic and sedative prevalence ratio compared to the 65- to 69-year age group was 1.45 (95% CI 1.44, 1.46). Between 2005 and 2013, the antidepressants prevalence ratio increased (1.27 (95% CI 1.22, 1.33)) relative to anxiolytics. Conclusions: Overall psychotropic drug utilisation increased over time. Despite safety concerns, hypnotic and sedative utilisation increased in the oldest vulnerable group. Shifts from anxiolytics to antidepressants in some health boards were consistent with guidelines for extended indications of antidepressant drug use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-248
Number of pages7
JournalAustralasian Journal on Ageing
Issue number4
Early online date15 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • defined daily dose
  • older people
  • prevalence ratio
  • psychotropic drug
  • variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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