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Pharmacist researcher wins first place in international competition for paper on antipsychotic and benzodiazepine reduction

Daniel Hoyle, a PhD candidate at the University of Tasmania’s School of Medicine, has won first place in the 2019 International Psychogeriatric Association Junior Research Awards in Psychogeriatrics competition.

His winning paper was on the “Clinical impact of antipsychotic and benzodiazepine reduction: Findings from a multicomponent psychotropic reduction program within long-term aged care”.

“Internationally, there has been ongoing concern that residents in aged care are inappropriately sedated, predominantly with antipsychotic and benzodiazepines,” Mr Hoyle told AJP.

“Our paper aimed to investigate the association between antipsychotic and benzodiazepine dose reduction and changes in neuropsychiatric symptoms, quality of life and social engagement, within a multicomponent intervention called the Reducing the Use of Sedatives (RedUSe) project,” he said.

Daniel Hoyle. Photo: Supplied.

“In this paper, we found no evidence of deterioration in these outcomes with antipsychotic or benzodiazepine dose reduction. In fact, trends towards improved agitation with antipsychotic and benzodiazepine dose reduction, and improved quality of life and social engagement with antipsychotic dose reduction, were identified as potential benefits.”

Mr Hoyle said he was “ecstatic” when he received the congratulatory email.

“To have my work recognised through this prestigious award is very satisfying and I am excited to present the paper in Spain,” he said.

“Inappropriate use of sedatives is a major issue in aged care. I am hopeful that this award will draw more attention to this issue and mitigate some of the barriers to sedative review and reduction in aged care.”

He emphasised that the win was “very much a team effort alongside Dr Juanita Breen, Professor Gregory Peterson, Dr Ivan Bindoff, Dr Lisa Clinnick and Aidan Bindoff”.

Mr Hoyle holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree with first class honours from the University of Tasmania, and will be submitting his PhD later this year.

He hopes to continue his career in research into medication management and the aged care sector.

“Through my PhD and work as an accredited pharmacist providing Home Medicines Reviews and Residential Medication Management Reviews, I frequently come across cases where medication management could be optimised, particularly through deprescription,” he said.

“With an ageing population who are increasingly prescribed multiple medications, the opportunities to improve the management of medications is only going to become greater.

“For those that know me, I am a bit of a technology enthusiast. With that in mind, I see myself continuing an academic career in the aged care sector with a focus on integrating technology to make it easier for health professionals at the coal-face improve the use of medications.”

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