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Contemporary practices of long-term antipsychotic maintenance treatment for schizophrenia are being challenged, and clinicians must consider the possibilities of reducing long-term maintenance use. However, research indicates that people with schizophrenia receive little support from mental health staff to reduce antipsychotic medication. This article reports a study which aimed to investigate interdisciplinary mental health staff's accounts of tapering of antipsychotic medication and to explore different positions that mental health staff assign to themselves and others. Six focus groups were conducted with 39 mental health staff from outpatient clinics, inpatient units, forensic mental health units, and community mental health services. The data analysis combined analyses of the interactions during focus groups and the thematic content. Results were considered from a discourse analytic perspective considering the function and consequence of accounts applied by the mental health staff. The mental health staff accounted for their perspectives on tapering from the following three distinctive positions: 1) No, patients will eventually realize that they need the medication, 2) Yes, but tapering means running a big risk of relapse in symptoms, and 3) Yes, we need to welcome risks to support personal recovery. Our findings indicated that there was reluctance among interdisciplinary mental health staff to let service users make decisions and limited possibilities for people with schizophrenia to have their request for tapering of their antipsychotic medication met by mental health staff.


Kickan Roed, Niels Buus, Jimmi Nielsen, Puk S Christensen, Julie Midtgaard. Mental Health Staff's Perspectives on Tapering of Antipsychotic Medication: A Focus Group Study. Qualitative health research. 2023 Nov;33(13):1165-1176

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PMID: 37710394

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