Development of a registry for monitoring psychotropic drug prescriptions: aims, methods and implications for ordinary practice and research.
Barbui C., Nosè M., Rambaldelli G., Bonetto C., Levi D., Patten SB., Tansella M., Psychotropic Drug Registry Study Group None.
In psychiatry, individual-based registries have provided key information on risks and benefits associated with the use of psychotropic drugs but they have rarely been employed for monitoring and evaluating the everyday prescribing of psychopharmacological treatments. This article describes the cultural background that gave impetus to the idea of registering all prescriptions of psychotropic drugs dispensed by physicians working in the South Verona community mental health service, and presents the methodology employed to develop such a registry in a community psychiatric service where a psychiatric case register (PCR) has been operating since 1978. We developed a registry including every patient receiving psychotropic medications in ordinary practice. This registry is linked to the PCR in order to obtain data on social and demographic characteristics, clinical symptoms, diagnosis, use of services, and outcomes. No exclusion criteria are allowed--anyone receiving treatment is automatically included. This system, which can link drug and service-use data with hard outcome indicators, can generate information on the proportion of subjects discontinuing treatment, switching medication because of side-effects, recovery or inefficacy, as well as on the proportion of subjects failing to return to the physician, and the proportion of patients who improve. The innovative aspect of this approach is that this registry is developed, organized and used by physicians interested in monitoring their clinical practice and in providing patients, relatives and the public with accurate information on drug use in their specific context of care.