Suggested resources to help primary care healthcare professionals find information on psychotropic and other medicines used in psychiatry

SPS resources

SPS has a variety of resources on mental health and illness which we recommend you check first. For example Choosing an antidepressant for people with coronary heart disease describes preferred and less-preferred options and patient factors to consider.

If the information is not available on the SPS website or the information resources listed, or if your clinical scenario is complex, we would suggest you seek further advice from our Medicines Advice Service.

Other primary resources

In addition to our own resources, we particularly recommend the following resources. They are free to access unless otherwise indicated:

Local formulary or guidelines

Your local Area Prescribing Committee, Medicines Management Group or similar body may have relevant guidelines or documents on their website. For example, prescribing guidelines and shared care protocols.

Local mental health services

Your local Mental Health Trust may have resources on their website for healthcare professionals (e.g. guidelines) or patients (e.g. information on psychotropic medicines).

Some Mental Health Trusts provide advice lines for local primary care health professionals. If available locally, GP practices and PCNs would be informed.

It may be helpful to make contact with your local adult Community Mental Health Team (CMHT), or Children and Young People’s Mental Health Service (CYPMHS, also known as Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services, CAMHS). Contact details should be available on your local Mental Health Trust website.

Clinical Knowledge Summaries

There are several Clinical Knowledge Summaries (CKS) topics relating to mental health, including depression, antenatal and postnatal depression, bipolar disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

CKS topics generally cover diagnosis and management and include prescribing information. They are produced for primary care practitioners.

Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines

The Maudsley Prescribing Guidelines in Psychiatry eBook  is freely available to healthcare professionals in England with an NHS England OpenAthens account. Register for an NHS England OpenAthens account.

The eBook is divided into sections covering:

  • drug treatment of major psychiatric conditions
  • drug treatment in special patient groups such as children, the elderly, in pregnancy and breastfeeding and in renal or hepatic impairment
  • specialist conditions, including the drug treatment of psychiatric symptoms occurring in the context of other disorders
  • other aspects of psychotropic drug use such as plasma level monitoring

Tips on using this resource

Each chapter of the website can be opened as a separate webpage or pdf document. It is helpful to first open the ‘Table of Contents’ section to see what is covered in each chapter and decide which you need.

You can also use Ctrl + F to search within each webpage or pdf document.

Psychotropic Drug Directory

The Psychotropic Drug Directory is available to subscribers via Medicines Complete and  and provides information on:

  • drug treatment options for psychiatric conditions
  • drug treatment in special patient groups (e.g. in patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, epilepsy, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, in patients with renal or hepatic impairment, and use after bariatric surgery)
  • drug interactions with psychotropic medicines
  • drug-induced psychiatric disorders
  • management of side effects from psychotropic medicines

Choice and Medication

Choice and Medication (subscription required) provides patient information on mental health conditions, treatments and medications.

Almost all Mental Health Trusts provide free access for patients and carers via their websites; personal professional subscriptions are available for pharmacists in non-subscribing organisations.

Resources include printable leaflets such as patient information for medicines (available in 22 different languages), factsheets on various topics (e.g. starting and stopping medicines) and charts to help users compare medicines for a condition.

Training resources

If you would like more information on how to approach answering questions on mental health we recommend:

Medicines Learning Portal

The Medicines Learning Portal is aimed at trainee hospital pharmacists but the content is also relevant to clinical primary care healthcare professionals. The portal includes a tutorial on mental health which provides advice on:

  • questions to ask when considering questions relating to mental health medicines
  • swapping between medicines
  • stopping and restarting medicines
  • choosing a medicine
  • managing side effects
  • talking to patients

Update history

  1. Online access to Psychotropic Drug Directory is now via Medicines Complete (subcription required)
  1. Title amended
  1. Detail added regarding access and content of Choice and Medication
  1. Published

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