A National Combined Voice for Mental Health Consumers and Carers
A Critical Literature Review of the Direct, Adverse Effects of Neuroleptics
Over the last couple of years, the NMHCCF expressed concern that many consumers and family members were unaware of the direct, adverse effects associated with medications and the inconclusive, and at times contradictory, nature of the evidence underpinning their use. As a result, the NMHCCF teamed up with researchers from Curtin University to develop a Critical Literature Review with the aim to provide information on antipsychotics and their use, so that individuals and their families can make informed treatment choices.
A Critical Literature Review of the Direct, Adverse Effects of Neuroleptics and a booklet guide for consumers and carers, What you may not know about antipsychotics was officially launched in September 2017. The guide provides information about antipsychotics, the evidence base underpinning their use, the risks they carry, and alternative responses to psychosis in order to promote informed decision making. It is important to note that antipsychotics can have a role in personal recovery but as recovery is a unique, individual process, the roles of these medications will be different for each person.
There are many other ways in which to manage distressing experiences and receive effective treatments beyond psychiatric drugs that may be more suitable for some individuals. These approaches can be used as an alternative to, or in conjunction with, antipsychotic medication. While some people find these helpful, they require research to find out if they are available locally. There are website links in the booklet for consumers and carers who are seeking information about alternative approaches to treatment.
Medication is just one tool among many that people may choose to use in their recovery and the NMHCCF endorse considering all approaches and discussing these with the doctor and care support team. The NMHCCF emphasise the importance of discussing safety factors and alternative approaches prior to taking any action or making any changes. Medication should not be stopped or reduced without discussing this with your treating psychiatrist or mental health professional.
The Consumer Carer booklet, What you may not know about antipsychotics provides a list of questions in reference to antipsychotics that consumers and carers may wish to ask their treating clinician in order to obtain balanced information about the risks and benefits of these medications. We encourage consumers, carers and family members to feel confident in seeking answers to their questions relating to their mental health care, including the psychiatric medication they may have been prescribed.