There are great variations in the way psychotropic drugs are prescribed. Most experts are in favour of psychopharmacological monotherapy, but little is known about the extent to which it is actually practised. A survey of the psychopharmacological medication of all patients under treatment was carried out in three Austrian psychiatric clinics of various types on two separate days. A psychiatric university clinic, the psychiatric department of a general hospital and a regional mental hospital were selected for the survey.
It was established that only 8% to 22% of the patients underwent psycho-pharmacological monotherapy and that the patients received 2.2 to 3.3 psychotropics on average. Five to 22% of the patients received five or more psychotropic agents. The results are presented in more detail in relation to the diagnoses of schizophrenia and depression.
The rare occurence of monotherapy might be due to unsound treatment regimens in some instances, but much more to a general trend in psychiatry fostering polydrug use.