Understanding antipsychotic non-classical prescriptions: a quantitative and qualitative approach.
Veronese A., Vivenza V., Nosè M., Cipriani A., Tansella M., Barbui C.
AIMS: To date only a few studies investigated the clinical reasons supporting and explaining non-classical antipsychotic prescriptions. The present study was carried out to develop concepts which help understand this phenomenon in a natural setting, giving emphasis to views of clinicians according to quali - quantitative research methodologies. SUBJECTS: From the South-Verona Psychiatric Case Register all antipsychotic prescriptions issued during 2005 were extracted. Concurrent prescribing of two or more antipsychotics, prescribing antipsychotic drugs outside the licensed indications, and outside the licensed ranges of doses reported in the Italian National Formulary, were considered non-classical prescriptions. Reasons for non-classical prescriptions were collected by means of brainstorming sessions with clinicians. Non-classical prescriptions and the corresponding reasons were grouped according to whether they were "clinically sound" or "clinically not sound". RESULTS: During 2005 a total of 259 patients received 376 non-classical prescriptions. The most frequently reported reasons for non-classical prescribing were that prescriptions were inherited from another clinician with or without benefit, and that prescriptions were motivated by the need of reducing psychotic symptoms. More than 60% of these non-classical prescriptions were categorised as "clinically sound". Clinically not sound prescriptions were related with negative clinicians' views and opinions about the patient/clinician relationship. CONCLUSION: Clinically not sound prescriptions appeared just a reflection of a problematic doctor/patient relationship, where no individual treatment plan existed and psychiatric visits had the only goal of monitoring ongoing prescriptions.