Psychotropics are widely used drugs, especially in the elderly, especially in France. This, and the risks associated to their use, logically led to concerns that resulted in numerous studies, reports, and regulatory actions intending to limit this use. This review objective was to provide an overview of psychotropic use in elderly subjects in France for antipsychotics, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines and related drugs. The narrative review performed is structured in two parts. The first reminds the initial steps of psychotropic use monitoring in the general French population. The second provides information on psychotropic use in elderly in France using the latest open data released by the French Health Insurance system and processed using the dedicated DrugSurv tool developed within the DRUGS-SAFE® and DRUGS-SAFE® programs. This was completed examining the most recent studies regarding psychotropic use in elderly in France, whether they consisted in publications or reports. At least before the COVID-19 epidemic, decreases in psychotropic prevalence of use among the elderly in France could be observed, mostly for antipsychotics or benzodiazepines (e.g. antipsychotics, 2006–2013: 10.3% decrease and benzodiazepines 2012–2020: decrease from 30.6% to 24.7% in subjects aged ≥65). Psychotropic prevalence of use remained however very high overall (e.g. antidepressants, 2013: 13% in subjects aged 65–74 and 18% in aged ≥65), exceeding that of most other countries, with a significant proportion of inappropriate use (e.g. in 30% of benzodiazepine users, all ages) carrying a clearly identified risks for uncertain benefit. Initiatives have been multiplied at the national level to reduce psychotropic overuse in the elderly. The reported prevalences demonstrate their effectiveness is obviously insufficient. This limited effectiveness is not specific to psychotropics and might reside in a failure to create strong adherence to messages and recommendations. Other levels should be considered, especially regional, for interventions coupled with pharmacoepidemiologic monitoring allowing impact assessment.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Psychotropics, Antipsychotics, Antidepressants, Benzodiazepines, Pharmacoepidemiology, Drug utilization