December 12

Mental Health Drugs Overused BBC

It appears that UK mental health professionals have been seduced much as
their colleagues in the U.S. to follow like a herd of sheep the marketing
reps of these drugs' manufacturers.  Patients who somehos fall into a
"mental health" facilitiy are at great risk of being overprescribed
psychotropic drugs that undermine both their mental and physical health.

UK pharmacists are being called upon to be arbiters of misprescribed
controlled drugs by psychiatrists.

Questions ought to be raised about the competence of psychiatrists to be
licensed for prescribing highly toxic substances whose mechanism of action
disturbs normal neurological, hormonal, and cardiovascular function.
Misprescribing of such drugs increases risks of permanent harm to patients.
If one considers the harm done by one of the widely prescribed psychotropic
drugs–Eli Lilly's most profitable drug–the antipsychotic, Zyprexa, and the
evidence of its proclivity to trigger de novo diabetes, the need to take
action becomes clear.

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav <
Mental health drugs overused
Paul Jenkins
Medicines for mental health patients must be better managed

Up to one in three mental health patients are being over-prescribed drugs,
says the Healthcare Commission.
 A report found mental health patients were more likely to have problems
with medicines than those in other trusts.
The healthcare watchdog said management of mental healthcare patients'
medicines must improve, and pharmacists should be involved in patient care.

 It said the findings were "concerning" given the importance of medicines in
mental healthcare.
The Healthcare Commission has once again highlighted a shocking
over-prescription of powerful medicines to people in hospital experiencing a
mental health crisis

Healthcare Commission Chief Executive Anna Walker said: "Managing medicines
safely, effectively and efficiently is central to the delivery of high
quality care that is focused on the patient and gives value for money."

 She called on both primary care trusts and mental health trusts to look at
their medicines management, and said patients in mental health trusts had
told the Commission that they had not been involved as much as they would
like in decisions about their medicines.

 She said: "This needs to be addressed if trusts expect service users to
take their medicines as prescribed."

In research undertaken by the Prescribing Observatory for Mental Health, 36%
of people were found to have been prescribed more than the maximum
recommended dose of anti-psychotic medicines.

 Mental health charity Rethink called for an end to the over-prescription of
mental health medicines.

The charity's chief executive Paul Jenkins said: "The Healthcare Commission
has once again highlighted a shocking over-prescription of powerful
medicines to people in hospital experiencing a mental health crisis.
 "As well as defying national guidance, this over-prescription actually
delays successful discharge in many cases.

"Everyone has the right to the best evidence-based care, but it is
unacceptable that people experiencing a mental health crisis can still be
treated as second class citizens."

 Reviews helpful
The Commission said the problem could be detected by an effective clinical
pharmacy service.
 It found that reviewing medication benefited patients, with 70% of reviews
in mental health trusts leading to a change in a person's medicine, and 46%
of those reviewed being found not to be taking their medicines

 David Pruce, Director of Practice and Quality Improvement from the Royal
Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain said: "The evidence shows that
medication reviews in mental health by specialist pharmacists can have a
major impact, with over 70% of the reviews leading to a change in the
patient's medication."

 Yet 24% of wards in mental health trusts received no visits from pharmacy
staff, compared to only 14% in acute trusts, and just 14% received more than
five hours of pharmacy staff time in a week, compared to 64% in acute
Mr Pruce said: "The future should see specialist mental health pharmacists
having an increased role in the care of patients."

 Not complacent
National Clinical Director for Mental Health, Professor Louis Appleby said:
"We recognise that the safe and effective management of medicines is central
to the delivery of high quality patient care.

 "This report will help services address a very important issue and ensure
that patients are fully involved in decisions about – and get the most from
– their medicines.   "We are not complacent and more work is needed to
ensure that all Trusts reach the standards of the best."

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