Healthcare watchdog suggests widespread “overuse” of anti-psychotic drugs.

A third of mental health patients in Britian are being prescribed more than the maximum recommended doses of their medications, a new report by the Healthcare Commission suggests.

Those with mental health problems are more likely to have difficulties with over-prescription of medicines than other kinds of patient, according to research carried out by the Prescribing Observatory for Mental Health.

Anna Walker, Chief Executive of the health watchdog, said: “These findings are concerning and need to be addressed if trusts expect service users to take their medicines as prescribed.

“Managing medicines safely and effectively is central to the delivery of high quality care focused on the patient.”

The report calls on primary care and mental health trusts to look at their medicines management and says pharmacists should be more involved in patient care.
“Patients told us that they have not been as involved in decisions about their medication as they would like,” said Anna Walker.

In the study, 36% of people were found to have been prescribed more than the maximum dose of anti-psychotic medicines.

The Commission said the problem could be detected by regular medication reviews – 46% of reviewed cases were found not to be taking their medicines appropriately and
70% of such reviews have led to a change in a person’s medication.

David Pruce of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said: “The future should see an increased role for specialist mental health pharmacists in the care of patients.”
* To read the full report go to