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To analyze antipsychotic prescribing patterns in a UK high security hospital (HSH) that treats seriously violent men with either schizophrenia or personality disorder and examine how different groups consented to treatment and prescribing for metabolic conditions. We hypothesized that there would be high prevalence of antipsychotic polypharmacy, and high-dose antipsychotic and clozapine prescribing.
HSHs treat seriously violent, mentally disordered offenders, and the extant literature on prescribing patterns in forensic settings is sparse.
Prescribing and clinical data on all 189 patients in a UK HSH were collected from the hospital’s databases. Data were analyzed using SPSS.
The population was split into the following groups: schizophrenia spectrum disorder (SSD-only), personality disorder (PD-only), and comorbid schizophrenia spectrum disorder and PD. The majority (93.7%) of all patients were prescribed at least one antipsychotic, and (27.5%) were on clozapine. Polypharmacy was prevalent in 22.2% and high-dose antipsychotic in 27.5%. Patients on clozapine were more likely to be prescribed antidiabetic, statins, or antihypertensive medication. Patients in the PD-only group were more likely to be deemed to have the capacity to consent to treatment and be prescribed clozapine in contrast to the SSD-only group.
Rates of clozapine and high-dose antipsychotic prescribing were higher than in other psychiatric settings, while polypharmacy prescribing rates were lower. Higher clozapine prescribing rates may be a function of a treatment-resistant and aggressive population. A higher proportion of PD-only patients consented to treatment and received clozapine compared with in-house SSD-only as well as other psychiatric settings. Implications of the findings are discussed.
A number of studies have demonstrated the anti-aggressive properties of clozapine in schizophrenia and its positive effect in borderline personality disorder. There is no published literature on the treatment of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) with clozapine. We present a case series of 7 patients with primary ASPD and high psychopathic traits treated with clozapine, having a significant history of serious violence and currently detained in a UK based high-security hospital.
A retrospective review of case notes was carried out to formulate Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scores and record incidents of violence and aggression. Effect on specific symptom domains (cognitive-perceptual, impulsive-behavioural dyscontrol, affective dysregulation) was also noted. Metabolic parameters and serum clozapine levels were also sampled.
All 7 patients showed significant improvement on clozapine. It was shown to benefit all symptom domains, especially impulsive behavioral dyscontrol and anger. The number of violent incidents committed by 6 of the 7 patients reduced significantly, and all patients’ risk of violence reduced. Clozapine serum levels for 6 of the 7 patients were in the range 150–350 ng/mL.
Clozapine is of benefit in reducing the clinical severity of ASPD. It improved all symptom domains, especially impulsive-behavioral dyscontrol and anger, and reduced levels of aggression and violence, especially at lower doses (serum levels <350 ng/m). To our knowledge, this is the first account of clozapine treatment in patients with ASPD and high psychopathy.
Clozapine is used in the management of treatment-resistant schizophrenia and is effective in reducing aggression; however a subgroup of patients is poorly responsive. For violent patients in this group, there is limited literature on the use of strategies to augment clozapine with other agents. Here we present a case series of 6 schizophrenia patients, within a high-security hospital, who have a history of serious violence and who were treated with clozapine augmented with amisulpride.
We reviewed case notes and health records for evidence of violence/aggression and positive factors such as engagement in activities, and Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scores were formulated. We also examined metabolic parameters before and after augmentation.
All 6 of the patients showed clinical improvement in symptoms and a reduction in their risk of violence to others. Five patients had a reduction in number of violent/aggressive incidents, and all patients showed improvement in engagement in occupational, vocational, and/or psychological work. Metabolic parameters were largely unchanged except for 1 patient whose Body Mass Index (BMI) increased. Five patients reported side effects as unchanged or improved.
These schizophrenia patients with a history of violence showed clinical improvement and reduced aggression and violence with amisulpride augmentation of clozapine. To our knowledge, this is the first report of an antiaggressive benefit of this combination in forensic psychiatric patients. Further studies are warranted to establish the efficacy and anti-aggressive effects of amisulpride augmentation of clozapine.
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