Nearly 40% of people with first-episode psychosis in community-based mental health clinics might benefit from medication treatment changes, according to a recent study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
Researchers have found that many patients experiencing first-episode psychosis do not receive medications compliant to the recommended guidelines that stress low-dose antipsychotics and strategies to minimize side effects that may contribute to drug discontinuation.
The RAISE Early Treatment Program team evaluated 404 patients aged 15–40 with first-episode psychosis who presented for treatment at 34 community-based clinics. A total of 159 patients (39.4%) were identified that may benefit from medication changes.
Of the 159 patients:
- 8.8% were prescribed higher-than-recommended doses of antipsychotics;
- 23.3% were prescribed more than one antipsychotic;
- 36.5% were prescribed an antipsychotic and an antidepressant (without a clear need established);
- 10.1% were prescribed psychotropic medications without an antipsychotic; and
- 1.2% were prescribed stimulants.
In addition, about one-third of these patients were prescribed olanzapine which is not recommended for first-episode patients.
Results of the study indicate a need for increased awareness of first episode-specific medication practices at community facilities. The study authors recommend more education for those prescribing medication for patients with first-episode psychosis.
For more information visit NIH.gov.