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Antipsychotic Medication Prescribing in Long Term Care Facilities Increased in the Early Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic Issue Brief

Publication Date
Iara Oliveira, Martin Blanco, Mir Ali

Prescriptions dispensed for antipsychotics in nursing homes and assisted living facilities increased since the beginning of the pandemic, with 20.8 thousand dispensed in 2020 compared to 20.5 thousand in 2019. This represents a 1.5% increase in total prescriptions since the beginning of the pandemic despite lower resident census levels in long-term care facilities (LTCFs). In 2020, the highest increase in the number of prescriptions dispensed occurred during the first quarter of the pandemic, with an increase of 7.4% compared to the first quarter of 2019. After this initial increase, the quarterly number of prescriptions for antipsychotic medications dropped close to pre-pandemic levels, despite a declining nursing home resident census and likely a declining LTCF resident census overall.

This research was conducted within the HHS/ASPE Office of Behavioral Health, Disability, and Aging Policy. Please visit for more information about ASPE research on long-term services and supports (LTSS), for information about research on COVID-19, or BHDAP research at

Available Reports:

Product Type
ASPE Issue Brief
Older Adults | Low-Income Populations | Medicare-Medicaid Dual-Eligible | Medicare Beneficiaries | People Living with Dementia
Location- & Geography-Based Data
National Data