Antidepressants often prescribed in long-term care homes across the country
According to the latest report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, sanitary measures during the pandemic have decreased interactions between Canadians and the health service.
The use of psychotropic medications to treat people aged 65 and over residing in long-term care facilities and nursing homes has increased during the pandemic, as the lockdown raised concerns about the mental health of this population. clientele.
According to a report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) published Thursday, these people were three times more likely than other seniors to be prescribed antidepressants.
In its Evolution of Medication Prescribing to Seniors in Canada report, CIHI indicates that these seniors are eight times more likely to be prescribed an antipsychotic than people of the same age who do not live in these facilities.< /p>
In Canada, the rate of household antidepressant use increased from 62% to 64.7% between 2019 and 2022.
The rate of antidepressant use among seniors, all categories combined, increased from 22.3% in 2019 to 23.4% in 2021. About 140,000 more people have been on antidepressants since the start of the pandemic, according to the report.
For antipsychotics, the increase is 5.4 percentage points in seniors' residences in Canada. The rate of antipsychotic use in homes increased from 37.1% in 2019 to 42.5% in 2021.
According to several studies, the pandemic has had consequences important to the mental health of Canadians.
CIHI's Drug Product Information Service Manager Tracey Fisher says older adults have been hit hardest by COVID-19.
They were subjected to long periods of isolation without the possibility of seeing their families. All of this could have contributed to the increase we are seeing, she explained in an interview with Radio-Canada.
Health restrictions during the pandemic have led to a decrease in the number of residents in homes for the elderly.
This development should be taken into account when examining trends in drug prescribing among long-term care patients, the report reads.
In Manitoba, the report noted an increase in antipsychotic prescriptions in long-term care facilities during the pandemic, where the rate of use rose from 30.6% to 35, 5% between 2019 and 2021.
To compile this report, CIHI used data collected from drug plans in all provinces and the Yukon. The Northwest Territories and Nunavut do not submit data to the National Prescription Drug Utilization Information System.
CIHI shows that, on average, prescriptions for these drugs are higher among older women than among men.
In 2021, in Canada, more than 10 categories of drugs were prescribed to one in four women (24.6%) aged 65 and over, when it was the cases for 23.3% of men of the same age.
A category includes several types of drugs that have similar medical effects.
According to Tracey Fisher, women are known to live longer than men and suffer from more chronic diseases as they age. They are also more likely to seek care than men, she adds.
According to the CIHI report, more than half of Canadians aged 65 and over have been prescribed statins, a drug used to treat high cholesterol. This drug is also prescribed after a heart attack.
According to CIHI, approximately 220,000 people over the age of 65 have used medication to treat diabetes in recent years. The utilization rate increased from 20.1% in 2017 to 21.4% in 2021, the report said.
According to the report, 32,000 people under the age of 65 treated chronic pain with opioids. From 2017 to 2021, the rate of use of this category of drugs has increased from 17.3% to 14.9%.
Tracey Fisher explains that, while opioids are effective for pain management, they can also be harmful to patients, among other things because of their euphoric and psychological effects.
Campaigns are trying to raise awareness of the consequences of these drugs to reduce the number of prescriptions for opioids, while offering other solutions.
Prescriptions for antibiotics have dropped considerably during the pandemic, also mentions Tracey Fisher. According to the report, antibiotic use has increased from 38.6% before the pandemic to 30.5% in 2021. This represents 380,000 fewer older people who were treated with antibiotics. x27;antibiotics.
During the pandemic, seniors saw doctors less, seeing doctors only when their symptoms were severe.
In the case of Manitoba, for example, the rate of opioid prescriptions between 2017 and 2021 fell from 17.4% to 14.6%. As for antibiotics, the prescription rate fell from 39.6% to 31.4% between 2019 and 2021.
In total, one in four elderly people receives a prescription for at least 10 drug categories. This trend has in fact been constant for the last five years, recalls Tracey Ficher. However, a slight increase has been seen during the pandemic.
The CIHI report clarifies that, during the pandemic, there have been fewer interactions between Canadians and health services due to health measures. This was accompanied by a decline in the average number of drugs prescribed to them.
However, the rate of prescription of drugs that are intended to treat chronic conditions among the elderly remained stable during this period.
The Evolution of Prescribing Medications to Seniors in Canada, from the Canadian Institute for Health Information