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© 2013 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. All rights reserved. This chapter describes the epidemiology of psychotropic drug prescription in the mental health services. Physicians should combine their own clinical expertise and training with high-quality systematic reviews of scientific evidence in order to make optimal decisions about therapeutic interventions. It is possible to describe how drugs are prescribed and used, investigate reasons underlying prescriptions and monitor outcomes and the variables which may affect them. The study designs developed to summarise scientific evidence in the format of systematic reviews, and pharmaco-epidemiological approaches developed to study the use and the effects of drugs in large numbers of individuals, are reviewed. This chapter therefore aims to assess whether and how these two disciplines can constitute a permanent link between the experimental world of clinical trials and the real world of everyday prescribing and their possible impact on improving global mental health.

Original publication





Book title

Improving Mental Health Care: The Global Challenge

Publication Date



319 - 339