Antipsychotic Medication Management

Urgent Need for Policy Reforms in Antipsychotic Medication Management, According to New Research


In a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Liverpool, alongside collaborators from Powys Teaching Health Board in Wales, University of Leeds, and University of Glasgow, it has been highlighted that there is a pressing need for policy changes in the management of antipsychotic medication (APM). The study identified significant gaps in care for patients with serious mental illness, signaling the necessity for immediate action to better support both patients and healthcare professionals.

The research emphasized the increasing prescription of APM to patients with serious mental illnesses. While these medications are being prescribed more frequently due to their reduced side effects such as uncontrollable physical movements, they also pose risks of obesity and heart disease, necessitating regular physical health monitoring. Alarmingly, many patients prescribed antipsychotics are discharged to primary care without scheduled psychiatric reviews, indicating a lack of comprehensive care for this vulnerable population.

Published on March 1 in PLOS ONE, this study is the first of its kind in the U.K. to explore the perceptions of General Practitioners (GPs), psychiatrists, and policy managers regarding the rising prevalence and management of antipsychotics within primary care settings. Through interviews with healthcare professionals, various concerns were brought to light, including the lack of confidence among GPs in managing antipsychotic medications independently and the inadequate skills of psychiatrists in addressing cardiometabolic risks associated with these medications. Additionally, communication barriers between healthcare services and the pressure to discharge patients from hospitals without proper monitoring were identified as critical issues contributing to suboptimal care for patients on antipsychotics.

Professor Iain Buchan, a contributing author of the study, emphasized the fragmented and suboptimal care experienced by individuals prescribed antipsychotic medication and stressed the importance of enhancing care for this population. He proposed various recommendations, including implementing a hybrid form of contractual shared care for patients on antipsychotics and incorporating changes to the curricula of the Royal College of General Practitioners and Royal College of Psychiatrists to enhance knowledge and skills required for effective management of these medications.

To address these challenges, the University of Liverpool and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust established the Mental Health Research for Innovation Center (M-RIC) to drive advancements in mental health care. The center will leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize medication prescribing practices and enhance patient outcomes. The findings of this study will inform further research within the Civic Health Innovation Labs (CHIL), focusing on the development of AI tools to support healthcare professionals in identifying patients with complex health conditions who may benefit from alternative medication regimens.

Led by Professor Buchan and Dr. Lauren E Walker, the upcoming DynAIRx study aims to enhance the management of antipsychotics by understanding the perspectives of patients with concurrent mental and physical health issues. By leveraging data science and AI technologies, the research endeavor seeks to address the challenges faced by individuals living with multiple health conditions and optimize the use of antipsychotic medications.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research.
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it.