Characterising the nature of psychotropic medication prescribed in Scottish PICUs

Gazala Akram, Anton Slavin, Paul Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To determine the nature of psychotropic medication routinely prescribed in Scottish PICUs, the medical notes and prescription charts of 75 patients from 10 out of 14 units were consulted. These included 55 males (73%), the majority of whom were detained and had a diagnosis of schizophrenia. There was good conformance with mental health legislation treatment plans (T2/T3 forms) with only five instances of non-conformance identified. Antipsychotics were prescribed to 60 patients (80%) of which olanzapine and zuclopenthixol decanaote were the most common. The average number of regular psychotropic medicines prescribed per patient was two. In total, 14 drugs, encompassing 21 formulations, were prescribed for PRN use. Lorazepam and haloperidol were the most common PRN medicines. 76 PRN prescriptions (32%) had the oral and IM doses written on the same line of the prescription chart and showed no allowance for bioavailability when detailing the maximum dose that could be administered. 16 patients (21%) were prescribed more than one antipsychotic. Seven patients were prescribed high dose therapy, but this increased to 25 when PRN antipsychotics were included. This study provides information about psychotropic medication prescribing in Scottish PICUs and highlights areas where practice is sub-optimal.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Intensive Care
Early online date24 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • characterising
  • nature
  • psychotropic medication
  • Scottish PICUs
  • prescribed


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