Excellent UK Article on Anti-Psychotic Drug Harm Reduction in Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing

By Will Hall

Matthew Aldridge, a psychiatric nurse at London’s Lambeth Hospital, just published a new article in the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, “Addressing non-adherence to antipsychotic medication: a harm-reduction approach.”

This is an extraordinarily well researched clinical discussion of professional medication practice that draws a lot from the Harm Reduction Guide To Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs that I wrote with The Icarus Project and Freedom Center. A very useful resource for giving to professionals and clinicians facing these issues. You can download the article here. And here are the summary and abstract:

Summary

Many people decide not to take prescribed antipsychotics once they are discharged from the hospital.

Stopping antipsychotics suddenly without support may result in harmful reactions and possible re-admission to the hospital.

The ‘Non-Adherence Harm Reduction’ approach aims to reduce the harm of stopping antipsychotics, by informing and supporting those who make this personal decision.

This approach values personal autonomy and may reduce the likelihood of harm and re-admission in those who choose not to adhere to prescribed antipsychotics.

Abstract

This paper discusses the evidence base for interventions addressing non-adherence to prescribed antipsychotics. A case study approach is used, and the extent to which adherence improvement interventions might be used in collaboration with a specific patient is considered. The principles and application of harm-reduction philosophy in mental health are presented in a planned non-adherence harm-reduction intervention. This intervention aims to acknowledge the patient’s ability to choose and learn from experience and to reduce the potential harm of antipsychotic withdrawal. The intervention evaluation method is outlined. (download and read article here)