NICE issues new guidelines for the treatment of schizophrenia

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has updated its guidelines on the best way to treat and manage adults with schizophrenia in primary and secondary care.

The new guidance updates the previous clinical guideline and also their recommendations on the use of newer (atypical) antipsychotic drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia.

Key recommendations, which were published on March 25th, state that:

• Healthcare professionals should ensure they are competent in working with people with schizophrenia from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

• Mental health services should work in partnership with local organisations, including those representing BME groups, to enable people with schizophrenia to access local employment and educational opportunities.

• Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) should be offered to all people with schizophrenia. NICE also states that social, group and physical activities such as exercise should be offered and recorded in the patient’s care plan.

• Family intervention to all families of people with schizophrenia who live with or are in close contact with the service user should be available.

• For people with newly diagnosed schizophrenia, oral antipsychotic medication should be offered. Information and discussion of the benefits and side-effect profile of each drug with the service user should also be provided. The choice of drug should be made by the service user and healthcare professional together.

• People with schizophrenia are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease than the general population so GPs and other primary healthcare professionals should monitor the physical health of people with schizophrenia at least once a year with a focus on cardiovascular disease risk assessment.

• The provision of arts therapies to all people with schizophrenia, particularly for the alleviation of negative symptoms should be considered.

The new NICE guidelines on Schizophrenia can be viewed in full here:

To read Hafal’s (Wales’ leading charity for people with serious mental illness and their carers) response to the new guidelines please click here: