Beardsley and co-workers reported that primary care physicians prescribed 66% of the psychotropic medications to a large ambulatory patient population while psychiatrists prescribed only 17.2% and other specialists 16.9%. Several studieshaveexam-ined general prescribing patterns for psychotropic cheap drugs by primary care physicians in ambulatory populations and by psychiatrists in psychiatric populations. The current authors found no study that examined psychotropic drug use by different medical specialists in an in-patient setting.
There is a dearth of information on the pattern of psychotropic drug use in hospitalized patients in Canada. Indeed, it is unclear if there is any link between the use of psychotropic drugs in in-patients compared with out-patients, and between hospitals with psychiatry wards and those without. To understand better the patterns ofpsy chotropic drug prescriptions by specialist physicians in hospitalized patients, we undertook a survey ofp sy chotropic drug use in the three general hospitals in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Two of the hospitals, Royal University Hospital (UH) and Saskatoon City Hospital (SCH) had departments of psychiatry, while the third, St Paul’s Hospital (SPH), had none.