The Royal College of Psychiatrists' Consensus Statement on “The use of high-dose antipsychotic medication’ suggests only fully qualified psychiatrists (MRCPsych) should recommend the prescribing of high-dose antipsychotic treatment. We observed changes in anti-psychotic prescribing in two surveys of psychiatric in-patients conducted eight and 32 months after publication of the Consensus Statement.
Overall mean chlorpromazine equivalent doses of antipsychotic drugs reduced between the surveys. When p.r.n. (as required) prescribing (usually done by junior doctors) is included, mean potential doses and numbers of patients who might receive ‘high-doses' increases substantially, although the reduction between surveys in total mean dose and proportion of patients on high-dose antipsychotic medication is preserved, and the actual use of p.r.n. medication was low (4–5% of p.r.n. prescriptions).
We recommend the development of local guidelines for junior staff concerning antipsychotic drug prescribing, regular monitoring of p.r.n. medication by consultants, and pharmacists' involvement in reviews of patients prescribed high-dose antipsychotic medication.
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