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Violence and aggression among patients suffering from mental health problems undoubtedly pose a challenge to healthcare professionals, families and carers. Aggressive behaviours affect all aspects of clinical care. The goal of professionals is to ensure safety while effectively managing behavioural emergencies. ‘Rapid tranquillisation’ implies prescribing pharmacological agents to manage these behaviours. This article highlights changing prescription trends. Appraisal of global guidelines suggests that factors other than scientific evidence dictate their evolution. High-quality randomised controlled trials are needed to develop a global guideline.
Clinical studies of antipsychotic medication are a primary source of data on the nature of, and relative liability for, adverse effects, relevant to prescribing decisions in clinical practice.
To identify how safety and tolerability data were collected and reported in recent clinical studies of antipsychotics.
A survey was conducted of all 167 eligible studies published between 2002 and 2007 on the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group register.
Extrapyramidal side-effects (EPS) and weight gain were most frequently assessed. A minority of reports addressed metabolic abnormalities, aversive subjective experiences and sexual dysfunction. Published rating scales were frequently used to evaluate EPS, but systematic methods were rarely applied to other treatment-emergent problems. The definition of individual adverse effects and the manner of reporting were inconsistent.
The way in which safety and tolerability data are collected and reported in clinical studies does not allow for fair and meaningful comparison of the relative risk profiles of individual antipsychotic drugs.
No treatment has caused a greater revolution in the treatment of people with schizophrenia than chlorpromazine. The new generation of drugs has been embraced by psychiatry with an enthusiasm fostered by the unmet needs of both patients and industry. Recent, independently funded trials have highlighted already existing data illustrating how the new antipsychotics drugs are an additional advance but not a revolution. In this story there are lessons for psychiatry to opt for science rather than seduction.
Most people with schizophrenia live in low- and middle-income countries in
which clinicians/policy makers are not the first targets of marketing.
Because it is years after a drug is first launched that the full effects
become known with confidence, the evidence upon which to base practice in
low- and middle-income countries may be less biased than that in richer
Historically, few randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have been conducted in primary care and problems have been experienced applying this methodology in these settings. In 2001, The Leeds Evaluation of Efficacy of Detoxification Study (LEEDS) was developed. This RCT aimed to compare two detoxification drugs to inform best practice for the treatment of opiate users presenting to primary care requesting detoxification. This paper presents descriptive data from a postal survey of 12 general practitioners (GPs) from 10 primary care practices who were involved in the LEEDS trial. The questionnaire was sent out in November 2004, used open and closed questions and was self-administered. It uncovered factors that affected patient recruitment, GPs' views on the trial and their experience of randomizing opiate using patients. Flexible solutions to overcoming recruitment difficulties are presented alongside idealistic solutions to the problems experienced. The implications of our experiences of conducting this RCT in primary care practices are discussed in the light of conducting RCTs in primary care settings. This will benefit other research teams and clinicians who may be planning to use a similar research methodology.
Long-acting depot antipsychotic medication is a widely used treatment for schizophrenia.
To synthesise relevant systematic Cochrane reviews.
The Cochrane Database was searched and summary data were extracted from randomised controlled clinical trials of depots.
Standard dose depot v. placebo resulted in significantly less relapse but more movement disorders. Those on depots (v. oral drugs) showed more global change on one outcome measure; relapse and adverse effects showed no difference. Comparisons showed no convincing advantages for one depot over another.
Depot antipsychotics are safe and effective. They may confer a small benefit over oral drugs on global outcome. Those for whom depots are most indicated may not be represented. Large studies are required to discern differences in relapse rates and long-term adverse effects, and data on satisfaction, quality of life and economics.
This study surveyed all residents in a hostel for homeless women. Demographic data, and information on past and present psychiatric and social morbidity and current and premorbid cognitive functioning were collected.
A four week prevalence study using: SCID–PD; a semi-structured interview; GHQ; SBS; Manchester Scale; MMSE; and NART; the data were analysed using SPSS.
The women originated from across the social spectrum and disruption of early family life was common. Fifty per cent had a ‘severe mental illness’ and most were not receiving drug treatment. High levels of active psychotic symptoms were present. Women with psychosis had suffered a greater intellectual decline from their premorbid levels of functioning than those without psychosis.
The study affirmed findings of earlier studies employing case-series methodology. Women with high levels of psychiatric morbidity and social dysfunction were being managed by care workers in a way that may promote stability rather than a drift into street-life.
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