Friday, 8 March 2013

Aripiprazole versus other atypical antipsychotics for schizophrenia.

This review includes 12 research trials with 6389 people. It evaluates whether aripiprazole is better than other drugs.

Read the full summary here:

From a service user perspective (SUPER), it is perhaps surprising that there is so little information on the different medications that are available to service users (atypical antipsychotics such as aripiprazole, olanzapine, risperidone and ziprasidone).  The wholesale use of these drugs is widespread, but the benefits as well as the negative side- effects for service users are not fully understood or adequately researched.  Although these medications are thought to help service users, people with mental health issues may have little understanding of the medications that they are taking and little say in which ones they would prefer in their treatment. 

The first line of defence should certainly include medication, but service users should also have a greater say in what medications they would prefer.  Research should not just focus on the effectiveness of these medications, but should look at subjective and personal factors, which is just another way of saying that service users should have more say in the tablets or drugs they take in their treatment.  Taking into account the views of service users and carers, patient preference and impact on quality of life are mentioned by this review as needing further research.  This would encourage people to take their medication, so making it better understood, fair and acceptable for people.

It has also been found that antipsychotic drugs work better and are more acceptable to people when combined with psychological therapies: the ‘talking cures’ of psychotherapy; family therapy; counselling; and cognitive behavioural therapy.  Both objective factors (the effectiveness of medication) and subjective feelings (what treatment or therapy service users say they feel they would prefer) need to be taken into consideration, so as to strike a good balance in the treatment, care and possible recovery of people who use mental health services.

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