Prescriptions for antipsychotics in general practice

Christopher M Harrison and Helena C Britt
Med J Aust 2003; 178 (9): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2003.tb05296.x
Published online: 5 May 2003

To the Editor: At the Australasian Schizophrenia Conference in Sydney in October 2002, Professor Patrick McGorry of the Orygen Research Centre, University of Melbourne, presented draft guidelines on the management of schizophrenia and early psychoses.1 One of the recommendations was that atypical antipsychotic drugs should be used as the first-line pharmacological treatment in preference to typical antipsychotics and depot antipsychotics. With a shift in management of schizophrenia to community-based care, the number of patients with schizophrenia managed by general practitioners has increased over the past decade (from 36 per 10 000 encounters in 1990–91 to 45 per 10 000 in 2000–02).2 With the pending introduction of the guidelines, a baseline measure of GP prescribing rates of antipsychotics, both typical and atypical, will allow future measurement of the impact of the guidelines.



Thanks to the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, AstraZeneca Pty Ltd (Australia), Aventis Pharma Pty Ltd, Janssen–Cilag Pty Ltd and Roche Products Pty Ltd for funding; to the GP participants; and Stephanie Knox, for assistance with statistical analysis.

  • 1. McGorry PD, Killackey EJ, Lambert T, and Clinical Practice Guidelines for Treatment of Schizophrenia Working Party. The Australian clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of schizophrenia [Draft]. In: Proceedings of the 7th Biennial Australasian Schizophrenia Conference; 2002 Oct 24–26; Sydney, NSW.
  • 2. Harrison C, Britt H, Knox S, Charles J. The rates and methods of management of schizophrenia in Australian general practice. In: Proceedings of the 7th Biennial Australasian Schizophrenia Conference; 2002 Oct 24–26; Sydney, NSW.
  • 3. Britt H, Sayer GP, Miller GC, et al. Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health: a study of general practice activity. Six month interim report. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and University of Sydney, 1999. (General Practice Series No. 1; AIHW Catalogue No. GEP 1.)
  • 4. SAS proprietary software, version 8.2. Cary, NC: SAS Institute Inc., 1999.
  • 5. Robertson J, Fryer JL, O'Connell DL, et al. The impact of specialists on prescribing by general practitioners. Med J Aust 2001; 175: 407-411.


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