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Project #126:
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Antipsychotic Prescribing in at risk groups


Prior to the pandemic the NHS had recognised that prescribing of antipsychotics was excessive in certain at-risk populations including in patients with dementia, learning disability, autism and those in care homes. Antipsychotics are licensed to treat serious mental illness, but they can also be used to manage behaviour where patients are severely distressed or at risk of harming themselves or others.

During the pandemic many of the social and charitable structures that supported people with disabilities were substantially affected and researchers have described the negative consequences in these at-risk groups, including increases in agitation, anxiety, depressive symptoms and negative behaviours such as aggressive and self harming behaviours.

The purpose of this study is to determine if the COVID-19 pandemic affected the rate of prescribing of Antipsychotic Prescribing in individuals with autism, dementia, learning disability, serious mental illness or those resident in a care home.


  • Study leads: Orla Macdonald
  • Organisation: Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust