Drugs’ side effects kept from patients

Nearly two-thirds of people with schizophrenia were not told about the possible side effects associated with their treatment, research has found.

More than three-quarters of those surveyed by mental health charity Sane reported side effects, including weight gain, drowsiness and restlessness, from antipsychotic drugs. Nearly a quarter said the effects had caused them to stop taking the medication.

In a another poll by Sane, one in 10 psychiatrists admitted they did not initiate discussions about the long-term health risks associated with some treatments.

Sane chief executive Marjorie Wallace said: “It is appalling that so many patients are not being given information vital to understanding the impact of their treatment and in turn their ability to make decisions and help in their own recovery.”

Consultant psychiatrist Mike Launer said his colleagues had to balance the efficacy of a treatment and the severity of side effects.

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