New Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Appropriate Use of Psychotropic Medications Released for Public Consultation

New Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Appropriate Use of Psychotropic Medications in People Living with Dementia and in Residential Aged Care have been released for public consultation.

Development of the Guidelines were led by Monash University's Centre for Medicine Use and Safety (CMUS), with funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration in response to recommendations from the recent Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

The Guidelines include 14 conditional recommendations and 44 good practice statements related to the appropriate use of antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and antidepressants.

CMUS Director and Guideline Clinical Chair Professor Simon Bell said: “Prescribers, nurses, pharmacists, aged care provider organisations and aged care staff all have responsibilities in ensuring the safe and appropriate use of psychotropic medications.”

“The Guidelines recognise that psychotropic medications should not be used as an alternative to non-medication strategies and that non-medication strategies should continue alongside medication treatment.”

The 18-member Guideline Development Group included geriatricians, clinical pharmacologists, pharmacists, nurses, experts in knowledge translation, experts in Indigenous and migrant health, aged care provider representatives, and a general practitioner, psychiatrist, legal practitioner, health economist, physiotherapist and carers of people with dementia.

Project Manager Michelle Steeper from CMUS said: “Guideline development involved applying the GRADE Evidence-to-Decision Framework that considers medication benefits and harms, preferences and values, resources, equity, acceptability and feasibility.”

The Guidelines were developed using a fully integrated knowledge translation approach with stakeholder consultation at each stage of the development process. Five aged care provider organisations in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia have participated in the development process. The CMUS-led team is also developing corresponding resources for healthcare staff, a consumer companion guide, and a co-designed implementation and dissemination plan.

The Guidelines have been released on the digital platform MAGICapp. Public consultation is open from Friday 1 April to Friday 6 May 2022.