Exclusive: GPs face crackdown on dementia prescribing

Alzheimer's Society proposes checks on antipsychotic scrips and publication of prescribing rates.

GPs could face three-monthly checks on prescribing of antipsychotic drugs under plans being considered by the DoH.

Proposals by the Alzheimer's Society would increase pressure to cut antipsychotic use by publishing PCT-wide prescribing rates for the drugs.

The charity has made seven recommendations as part of the DoH's review into inappropriate prescribing of antipsychotics, results of which are expected this spring.

The review was launched after reports that GPs were prescribing risperidone and olanzapine despite safety concerns.

The Alzheimer's Society advice, seen by GP newspaper, calls for 'compulsory regulation and audit of antipsychotic drugs'.

It wants national and local audits to gather data on their use and to inform regulation.

The charity calls for 'a formal requirement for the prescriptions to be recorded and then reviewed at a minimum of every three months and more regularly if appropriate'.

GPs should review prescribing when patients move so those who enter care homes are not left on antipsychotics because of a lack of follow-up care.

Louise Lakey, senior policy officer at the Alzheimer's Society told GP newspaper that audits would identify 'where most over-prescribing is taking place'. She called for support 'through education and information'.

Steve Iliffe, professor of primary care for older people at University College London, said: 'Auditing prescribing in people with dementia is sensible and should be part of any inspection process.' But he warned 'naming and shaming' could lead to resentment and evasive action.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

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