A survey of psychotropic drug prescriptions in an oncology population

Leonard R. Derogatis, Michael Feldstein, Nick Melisaratos, Gary Morrow, Arthur Schmale, Madeline Schmitt, Christopher Gates, Benjamin Murawski, Jimmie Holland, Doris Penman, Allen J. Enelow, Leta Mckinney Adler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


The present study examined the prescription practices concerning psychotropic drugs in 5 major oncology centers over a 6 month period. During the survey period 1579 patients were admitted to the collaborating institutions, and 51% of them were prescribed at least one psychotropic medication. Hypnotics were the most frequently prescribed drugs, accounting for 48% of total prescriptions, followed by anti‐psychotics at 26% and anti‐anxiety agents at 25%. Anti‐depressant drugs accounted for only 1% of psychotropic prescriptions. Analysis of prescription rationales revealed that 44% of the psychotropic prescriptions were written for sleep, while 25% were given for nausea and vomiting; approximately 17% were attributed to psychological distress, and 12% were associated with diagnostic medical procedures. The overall rate of prescription was approximately 2 psychotropic drugs per patient per admission, with only 2% of prescriptions resulting in chart‐documented side effects. At the level of individual compounds, 3 distinct drugs accounted for 72% of total prescriptions—flurazepam (33%), prochlorperazine (21%), and diazepam (17%).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1919-1929
Number of pages11
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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