What is Psychiatric Medication Review: Overview, Benefits, and Expected Results

Definition and Overview

In a psychiatric medication review, a general physician or a psychiatrist reviews all the medication that a patient is taking for an existing mental illness. The purpose is to promote safe and effective medication use and ultimately, improve patient outcomes.

Who Should Undergo and Expected Results

A psychiatric medication review is beneficial for psychiatric patients who are being treated for a mental health problem using medications such as antipsychotic drugs, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants. The goal is to ensure that the medications do not cause unwanted side effects (listed below) that may harm the patient or hinder effective treatment.

Common side effects of psychiatric medications

  • Weight gain
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in diet
  • Excessive saliva or dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Increased urine quantity
  • Sleep disorders or excessive sleepiness
  • Movement disorders

These side effects affect each patient differently, and sometimes, they may not wholly be prevented. Thus, the goal of prescribing doctors is to find medications that help with the patient’s condition but has the least number of side effects that the patient can tolerate.

Expected results

A medication review gives the patient a chance to discuss these side effects with his general physician or attending psychiatrist. If any potentially harmful side effects are experienced, the physician or psychiatrist can:

  • Adjust the dosage
  • Adjust the schedule of taking the medications
  • Change the prescription
  • Prescribe lifestyle changes, such as getting more exercise
  • Refer the patient to a nutrition specialist to help improve his diet
  • Update a patient’s medications in case his symptoms and diagnosis change and in case newer medications become available that may work better for the patient than his previous ones

The end goal of the review is to improve the effects of the medications on the patient’s condition, which means that the drugs should effectively reduce symptoms while causing minimal and only mild side effects that will not harm the patient’s overall health.

How Does the Procedure Work?

A psychiatric medication review is provided by a general physician, a psychiatrist, or a pharmacist, usually upon the patient’s request. During the review, the following information will be required:

  • Complete list of medications being taken
  • Complete list of vitamins, food supplements, and herbal supplements being taken
  • Dosage of each medication
  • Schedule of each medication

It is best for patients to bring actual samples of all the medications they are taking during the review. The doctor will then evaluate each medication based on its purpose, dosage and administration, expected outcome, desired effects, side effects, and drug interactions.

If any issues are found, the doctor will revise the patient’s medication plan. In some cases, the doctor may request for a follow-up visit.

Possible Risks and Complications

A psychiatric medication review does not pose any harmful risks and complications in itself. Rather, there are potential risks and complications in not seeking such a review.

Psychiatric medications need to be reviewed more often than other types of medications. This is because aside from common or mild side effects, psychiatric medications can also have long-term and more serious neurological complications when they are not working properly. These include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Tardive dyskinesia or a permanent uncontrollable twitching
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Memory impairment
  • Liver problems
  • Pancreatitis
  • Thyroid problems
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Pulmonary hypertension

The risk of withdrawal symptoms upon changing or stopping a medication without a psychiatric medication review first include:

  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Psychosis
  • Hypersensitivity

Thus, in order to prevent long-term complications and harmful withdrawal symptoms, patients should request a psychiatric medication review at least once a year or when they deem necessary.


  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Antidepressant medications for children and adolescents: information for parents and caregivers. Available at: www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/child-and-adolescent-mental-health/antidepressant-medications-for-children-and-adolescents-information-for-parents-and-caregivers.shtml. Accessed October 31, 2014.

  • US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening and treatment for major depressive disorder in children and adolescents: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. Pediatrics. 2009;123:1223-1228. PMID 19336383 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19336383.


What is Psychiatric Medication Review: Overview,‌ Benefits, and​ Expected Results

Psychiatric medication review is a crucial process in mental health care that involves evaluating and assessing the effectiveness, safety, and appropriateness of medications prescribed for⁢ mental ⁣health conditions. This review is typically conducted by a psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse,⁢ or other mental health professional ⁢with expertise in medications. By assessing ⁣the ongoing medication ⁢regimen, the goal of⁤ psychiatric medication review is to optimize treatment outcomes, minimize side ​effects, and promote overall well-being for individuals with mental health disorders.

The Importance of⁢ Psychiatric Medication Review

Regular psychiatric medication ⁢review is essential for several reasons:

  • Optimizing Treatment: Psychiatric medication review allows healthcare professionals to assess if the current medication regimen is​ adequately treating the individual’s symptoms. It offers an opportunity to adjust dosages, switch ​medications, or introduce new ones based on evolving symptoms and treatment goals.

  • Monitoring Side Effects: Medications used ​to manage mental health conditions may ​have side ‌effects that can range from mild to severe. A medication review ‌helps identify and manage any adverse effects, enabling the healthcare provider to find alternative medications or adjust dosages to minimize​ side effects.

  • Ensuring Safety: Regular medication review ensures that medications are ‍still safe‍ and appropriate for the individual. It helps identify any potential drug ⁤interactions or contraindications,⁤ especially if the individual is taking multiple medications for various conditions.

  • Enhancing Adherence: Medication review provides an opportunity to discuss any challenges ‌the individual may face in adhering to the prescribed medication⁢ regimen. By understanding these barriers, healthcare providers can offer strategies and solutions to improve medication adherence.

Expected Results of Psychiatric Medication ​Review

A comprehensive psychiatric medication ⁤review can‌ yield several expected results:

  • Improved Symptom Management: By optimizing the medication regimen, a medication review can lead to better control of mental health symptoms. This may include a reduction in the severity and frequency of symptoms, improved overall mood, and better functional capacity.

  • Reduced Side Effects: A ‍medication review can help identify and manage any medication-related side effects. By making appropriate adjustments, healthcare providers can minimize discomfort and enhance the individual’s‍ overall well-being.

  • Better Treatment Outcomes: When medications are tailored to ⁢individual needs, treatment outcomes are likely to improve. This can translate into ‌a better quality of life, improved functioning at home and work, and an increased sense of well-being.

  • Enhanced Safety: Through medication review,⁢ potential drug interactions ‌or⁣ contraindications can be identified, reducing the risk of adverse events. This ensures that the individual’s medication regimen is safe and ​appropriate for⁢ their specific needs.

  • Improved Adherence: ⁢By addressing any challenges and concerns related to medication ⁤adherence, a medication review can help individuals overcome barriers and improve ‍adherence. This, in turn, supports better treatment outcomes.

How Does Psychiatric Medication Review Work?

Psychiatric medication review typically involves a collaborative process between the healthcare provider and the individual receiving‍ treatment. Here are the key steps involved in a⁣ medication review:

  1. Initial Assessment: The healthcare provider conducts an initial assessment, which may include a review of the⁣ individual’s medical history, mental health symptoms, and previous treatment approaches.

  2. Medication History: The healthcare provider reviews the individual’s medication history, including current prescriptions, over-the-counter​ medications, and any supplements they may be taking.

  3. Symptom ⁣Evaluation: The mental health professional evaluates the individual’s current symptoms, their level of distress, and​ functional impairment to determine the appropriateness and⁣ effectiveness of the medication regimen.

  4. Side Effect Assessment: The healthcare provider assesses any side effects the individual may ⁤be experiencing ‌from their current medications and determines if adjustments are necessary.

  5. Discussion and Shared Decision-Making: The healthcare provider engages in a comprehensive discussion with the individual, involving them in the decision-making process. ⁢They explore the individual’s treatment goals and preferences and collaboratively⁤ develop a⁤ plan for any medication adjustments or changes.

  6. Implementing Medication Adjustments: Based on the assessment and shared decision-making process, the healthcare provider makes any ⁣necessary adjustments⁤ to the⁤ individual’s medications. This may involve modifying dosages,​ switching medications, or adding ​new medications to the regimen.

  7. Follow-Up and Monitoring: After implementing medication adjustments, the healthcare provider ‍schedules follow-up appointments to monitor the individual’s response to the changes. They evaluate the medication’s effectiveness, address any concerns, and make further adjustments if needed.


Regular psychiatric medication review is a vital process in‍ mental⁢ healthcare. By optimizing treatment, monitoring side effects, ensuring safety, and enhancing adherence, medication reviews can significantly improve treatment outcomes and overall well-being for individuals with ⁣mental health disorders. By actively engaging in medication review, individuals can collaborate⁣ with their healthcare⁢ providers,‍ allowing ⁣for personalized and⁣ effective treatment plans that ⁣promote their ⁣mental health and quality of life.

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