, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 277-281
Date: 31 Mar 2006

PRN Sedation–patterns of prescribing and administration in a child and adolescent mental health inpatient service

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Abstract

Objective: To identify utilisation rates of prn (pro re nata) sedation in children and adolescents receiving inpatient psychiatric treatment, and to compare correlates of prn prescribing and administration. Method A retrospective chart review examined 122 medical charts from a child and youth mental health inpatient service. Results 71.3% of patients were prescribed prn sedation and 50.8% were administered prn sedation. Patients received an average of 8.0 doses of prn sedation, with 9.8% receiving 10 or more doses. Chlorpromazine and diazepam were the most commonly utilised agents. Prescribing of prn sedation was only related to use of regular medications (p < 0.01), and non-parent carers (p < 0.01). In contrast, administration of prn sedation was associated with multiple diagnoses (p < 0.01), pervasive development disorder (p < 0.01), mental retardation (p < 0.01) ADHD (p < 0.01), longer hospital admission (p < 0.01), use of atypical antipsychotics (p < 0.01) and polypharmacy (p < 0.01). Conclusions Despite lack of data to inform practice, prn sedation is widely utilised, especially in complex patients. Future research in this area needs to incorporate nurses and examine whether patients benefit from prn sedation, which drugs and dosing patterns optimise safety and efficacy, and what is the role of prn sedation in the context of other medication.