Antipsychotic prescriptions were analysed for a large sample of psychiatric in-patients and out-patients in Hong Kong. Case notes for patients receiving high doses were reviewed and compared with the most recent consensus statement issued by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Demographic and prescription data were obtained from 1254 in-patients and 19 986 out-patients. Antipsychotic medications were prescribed to 1129 in-patients and 7520 out-patients, with 9.2% of in-patients and 1.8% of out-patients receiving a high dose. Almost all case notes failed to record the clinical indications for high-dose prescribing or that the patient had been informed. Electrocardiograms were performed in a very small proportion of patients receiving a high dose.
Low levels of adherence to established guidelines for high-dose antipsychotic prescription were found in this study, with clinical and medico-legal implications. The results of this study highlight the need for staff education and regular audit of antipsychotic doses in the in-patient and out-patient setting.
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