Pharmacotherapy for mood and anxiety disorders in older people with intellectual disability in comparison with the general population

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: People with intellectual disability (ID) have high prevalence of psychiatric disorders, but even higher rates of prescription of psychotropic drugs. METHODS: Using Swedish national registers, we identified a group of older people with ID and diagnosis of mood disorders (ICD-10 codes F32-F39) and/or anxiety (ICD-10 code F4) during 2006-2012 (n = 587) and a referent group of people from the general population with the same diagnoses during the same time period (n = 434). For both groups, we collected information on prescription of anxiolytics, hypnotics and sedatives, antidepressants, and GABA-agonists. RESULTS: Among those with a diagnosis of anxiety, people with ID were more likely than those in the general population to be prescribed anxiolytics (Relative Risk 1.32 [95% Confidence Interval 1.19-1.46]) and GABA-agonists (1.10 [1.08-1.31]). Moreover, among those with anxiety but without mood disorders, ID was associated with increased prescription of antidepressants (1.20 [1.03-1.39]). Within the ID cohort, behaviour impairment and MSP (i.e. moderate, severe, or profound) ID was associated with increased prescription of anxiolytics, both among those with anxiety (1.15 [1.03-1.30] for behaviour impairment and 1.23 [1.10-1.38] for MSP ID) and among those with mood disorders (1.14 [0.97-1.35] for behaviour impairment and 1.26 [1.04-1.52] for MSP ID). Moreover, MSP ID was associated with increased prescription of GABA-agonists among those with anxiety (1.23 [1.10-1.38]). CONCLUSIONS: The excess prescription of anxiolytics but not antidepressants may suggest shortages in the psychiatric health care of older people with intellectual disability and mood and anxiety disorders.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychiatry


  • Aging, Down syndrome, Drug prescription, Mental retardation, Sedatives
Original languageEnglish
Article number238
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug 1
Publication categoryResearch

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