Experts say some medicines used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are more likely to cause side effects and higher rates of misuse than others.
Read more Key points: Some medicines used for treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have been linked to serious side effects or misuse.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) says some drugs, such as antipsychotics, are more expensive than others to use, but the Government is not providing figures on how much money it has spent on them.
Dr Scott Horsfield, a senior research fellow at the University of Queensland, said the drugs that were being prescribed were not being used properly and were not doing the job they were designed to do.
“These drugs are not really good enough to treat psychotic illnesses but they are used very well to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia and affective disorders, and that’s the way that’s been done,” he said.
“But it’s very hard to get a really good study done on how well these drugs are doing that because there’s so much of it.”
And there’s a lot of drugs that are not necessarily good enough, because they have very high side effects, or there’s really serious side effect rates.”‘
Not a good value’The PBS is currently conducting a study of more than 5,000 mental health patients, but Dr Horsland said that research would take up to a year.”
They are looking at a very large sample size of people, and I’m very sceptical about that, because there are very few people in the world who can do it, and most of them are in the US,” he explained.”
What they’re doing is they’re looking at very large numbers of people who have a diagnosis that is not necessarily related to the illness.
“So they’re taking people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia and are not actually psychotic.”
The other way to look at it is they are looking for people who might have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and not really having a mood disorder, and the other way around is they do look at people who do have a mental disorder and who have been treated with antipsychotic medication.
“When you do those two things, it can be quite different outcomes.”
Dr Horsional said that when the PBS looked at a study like this, they should look at the side effects that might be occurring in people who were being treated for a mental illness, and not look at side effects of those drugs that may be causing harm to other people.
“It’s very important to get the right results and to get those side effects in the right range,” he added.
“There is a lot that needs to be done in terms of getting the proper numbers.”
The PBS has been working with researchers from the University and Queensland Health to study the effects of these drugs.
Dr Hensfield said the study was expected to be completed by September.
“If you look at what is happening in this country, the PBS is really trying to get some data, and if the data is not there, they will be in trouble,” he concluded.
“We’re not looking for a miracle drug or some miracle drug that’s going to cure schizophrenia and be completely free of side effects.”