This study aimed to establish the prescribing patterns of antipsychotics in acute psychiatric wards across Portugal, to determine the prevalence of polypharmacy and “high-doses” treatment, and to identify possible predictors. Twelve acute psychiatric inpatient units and 272 patients were included. The majority (87.5%) was treated with antipsychotics regardless of diagnosis, and 41.6% had at least two antipsychotics prescribed in combination. Age, use of depot antipsychotics, and antipsychotic “high-doses” were significant predictors of antipsychotic polypharmacy. Excluding ‘as required’ prescriptions, 13.8% of the patients were prescribed “high-doses” of antipsychotics. When antipsychotics ‘as required’ prescriptions were considered, 49.2% of the patients were on antipsychotic “high-doses”. Age, use of depot antipsychotics, previous psychiatric hospitalization and involuntary admission were significant predictors of antipsychotic “high-doses”. These results show that in Portugal the antipsychotics prescribing practices in psychiatric inpatient units diverge from those that are universally recommended, entailing important clinical and economic implications. It seems advisable to optimize the prescription of these drugs, in order to prevent adverse effects and improve the quality of the services provided.
- Psychiatric inpatient units