Among the wards studied, PSYCH practised a greater degree of polytherapy in their prescription of psychotropic drugs. While this practice may relate to the nature ofp sy chiat-ric illness in general and the longer length of stay, caut ion should be exercised. Polytherapy is cumbersome for patients, facilitates toxicity, and predisposes to greater side effects and drug-drug interactions. As well, it is inconvenient to the patients, expensive and may mitigate compliance with treatment.
Triazolam, chloral hydrate, diazepam and lorazepam were the most prescribed BZD Plus. Haloperidol, chlorpro-mazine and thioridazine were the most prescribed antipsychotics. A simiiar finding for haioperidol was reported by Zito et a. There was a trend towards general conservatism in the selection ofan tipsy chotic drugs, es pecially among nonpsychiatric specialties. The prescribers restricted themselves to the traditional neuroleptics and they did not use any of the newer medications (marketed with promise of better efficacy and fewer side effects). A similar conservative attitude was found by Winstead and colleagues in their study of psychotropic drug use in five city hospitals. Nonpsychiatrist prescribers seem to have retained a conservative attitude in their choice of antipsychotic . Amitriptyline was the most prescribed antidepressant even by PSYCH. It is unclear why trazodone, the newer antidepressant with better side effect profile, was not prescribed as much. New generation antidepressants, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, were in development at the time of this study.