The use of outcome measures to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of antipsychotic medication: a comparison of Thorn graduate and CPN practice Academic Article uri icon


  • Assessing the tolerability and efficacy of treatment with antipsychotic medication is a vital part of mental health care. Research has suggested that many side-effects go undetected by clinicians and there is a need to use standardized assessment tools to ensure that treatments are comprehensively evaluated. The training of Community Psychiatric Nurses (CPNs), who provide much of patients' care, should focus on enhancing skills in using such assessments. This study aimed to examine differences in the use of standardized assessments of antipsychotic side-effects and psychopathology by CPNs and Thorn graduates who had received additional training in delivering psychosocial interventions. A questionnaire was sent to 240 Thorn graduates and CPNs practising in England, with an overall adjusted response rate of 54%. Thorn graduates reported using significantly more standardized assessments of side-effects and psychopathology than CPNs. A trend in both groups towards the use of measures that relied on patient self-report of side-effects was observed. This study identified important deficiencies in current CPN practice. A programme of targeted training may be a more realistic and efficient method of enhancing medication management practices in large numbers of CPNs compared to the more expensive and time-consuming Thorn programme.


  • Gray, R
  • Wykes, T
  • Parr, A-M
  • Hails, E
  • Gournay, K

publication date

  • June 2001