Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Objective: To examine relationships between changing general practitioner after entering residential aged care and overall medicines prescribing (including polypharmacy) and that of psychotropic medicines in particular. Design: Retrospective data linkage study. Setting, participants: 45 and Up Study participants in New South Wales with dementia who were PBS concession card holders and entered permanent residential aged care during January 2010 ‒ June 2014 and were alive six months after entry. Main outcome measures: Inverse probability of treatment-weighted numbers of medicines dispensed to residents and proportions of residents dispensed antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, and antidepressants in the six months after residential care entry, by most frequent residential care GP category: usual (same as during two years preceding entry), known (another GP, but known to the resident), or new GP. Results: Of 2250 new residents with dementia (mean age, 84.1 years; SD, 7.0 years; 1236 women [55%]), 625 most frequently saw their usual GPs (28%), 645 saw known GPs (29%), and 980 saw new GPs (44%). The increase in mean number of dispensed medicines after residential care entry was larger for residents with new GPs (+1.6 medicines; 95% CI, 1.4‒1.9 medicines) than for those attended by their usual GPs (+0.7 medicines; 95% CI, 0.4‒1.1 medicines; adjusted rate ratio, 2.42; 95% CI, 1.59‒3.70). The odds of being dispensed antipsychotics (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.59; 95% CI, 1.18‒2.12) or benzodiazepines (aOR, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.25‒2.30), but not antidepressants (aOR, 1.32; 95% CI, 0.98‒1.77), were also higher for the new GP group. Differences between the known and usual GP groups were not statistically significant. Conclusions: Increases in medicine use and rates of psychotropic dispensing were higher for people with dementia who changed GP when they entered residential care. Facilitating continuity of GP care for new residents and more structured transfer of GP care may prevent potentially inappropriate initiation of psychotropic medicines.

Original publication




Journal article


Medical Journal of Australia

Publication Date





130 - 136