Trends in Antipsychotic and Mood Stabilizer Prescribing in Long-Term Care in the U.S. 2011–2014

Lauren B. Gerlach, Helen C. Kales, Hyungjin Myra Kim, Julie P.W. Bynum, Claire Chiang, Julie Strominger, Donovan T. Maust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes focuses on but is not limited to long-term care (LTC) residents with dementia; the potential impact on residents with other diagnoses is unclear. We sought to determine whether resident subpopulations experienced changes in antipsychotic and mood stabilizer prescribing. Design: Repeated cross-sectional analysis of a 20% Medicare sample, 2011–2014. Setting and Participant: Fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries with Part D coverage in LTC (n = 562,485) and a secondary analysis limited to persons with depression or bipolar disorder (n = 139,071). Methods: Main outcome was quarterly predicted probability of treatment with an antipsychotic or mood stabilizer. Results: From 2011 to 2014, the adjusted predicted probability (APP) of antipsychotic treatment fell from 0.120 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.119–0.121] to 0.100 (95% CI 0.099–0.101; P < .001). Use decreased for all age, sex, and racial/ethnic groups; the decline was larger for persons with dementia (P < .001). The APP of mood stabilizer use grew from 0.140 (95% CI 0.139–0.141) to 0.185 (95% CI 0.184–0.186), growth slightly larger among persons without dementia (P < .001). Among persons with depression or bipolar disorder, the APP of antipsychotic treatment increased from 0.081 (95% CI 0.079–0.082) to 0.087 (95% CI 0.085–0.088; P < .001); APP of mood stabilizer treatment grew more, from 0.193 (95% CI 0.190–0.196) to 0.251 (0.248–0.253; P < .001). Quetiapine was the most commonly prescribed antipsychotic. The most widely prescribed mood stabilizer was gabapentin, prescribed to 70.5% of those who received a mood stabilizer by the end of 2014. Conclusions and Implications: The likelihood of antipsychotic and mood stabilizer treatment did not decline for residents with depression or bipolar disorder, for whom such prescribing may be appropriate but who were not excluded from the Partnership's antipsychotic quality measure. Growth in mood stabilizer use was widespread, and largely driven by growth in gabapentin prescribing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Geriatric psychiatry
  • long-term care
  • psychotropic medications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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