In this longitudinal study of patterns of use of psychotropic drugs by a cohort of elderly nursing home residents (N = 5,752), drug use was examined upon admission, 3 months later, and at discharge/end of study. At each time point, 17% of the cohort used neuroleptics. Half of the subjects discontinued neuroleptics at each time point; however, a similar number were initiated on the drug. Benzodiazepines were used by 21%, 15%, and 15% at each of the three time points, respectively. Twice as many people were taken off benzodiazepines as initiated on them following admission. The 5% rate of antidepressant use was constant across the three time periods, although only half of those who took antidepressants upon admission were also taking them upon discharge/end of study. The amount of change due to discontinuation of these drugs and adjustment in dosage levels challenges the stereotype of the 'neglected psychotropic drug user' in nursing homes.