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To identify training needs of the next generation of psychiatrists and barriers in prescribing first-generation antipsychotics (FGAs). We have surveyed psychiatry trainees in East Anglia with regard to their training experience, knowledge and attitudes to the use of oral FGAs as regular medication.
Two-thirds of trainees were aware that first- and second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) have similar efficacy, and a similar proportion perceived the older drugs to have more or ‘stronger’ side-effects. Lack of training experience was noted as the second leading concern for prescribing FGAs. A quarter of trainees received no training exposure to the older drugs and two-thirds had never initiated these drugs themselves. Although nearly 90% of trainees felt confident about initiating an oral SGA as a regular medication, only about 40% felt confident with FGAs (P<0.001).
The survey highlights worrying gaps in training. FGAs can be used effectively, minimising side-effects, by careful dose titration, avoiding antipsychotic polypharmacy, high-dose, and high-potency drugs, thus ensuring they are not lost to future generations of psychiatrists.