Psychiatric trainees' knowledge and understanding of the therapeutic principles underlying the appropriate use of psychotropic medication comes from many sources. They receive a grounding in neuropharmacology as a medical student and this is updated and expanded by attendance at a university lecture course in preparation for the MRCPsych examinations. Practical advice is handed down by supervising consultants and is augmented by reference to standard textbooks and research literature. Pharmaceutical representatives occasionally provide useful information though this may be biased, concentrating on specific drugs in isolation and without comparisons to competitors. Because of the variety and uneveness of these sources there is a risk, especially in the earlier years of training that knowledge is patchy, impractical or unsoundly based on dogmatic or out of date advice. There have been calls for training in psychopharmacology to be improved and suggestions as to how this may be achieved (Ferrier & Cooper, 1994). This paper describes the clinical pharmacy services in Fife and their value in improving the knowledge and practice of therapeutics amongst psychiatric trainees.
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