Long-acting antipsychotic medication, restraint and treatment in the management of acute psychosis

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Objective: Zuclopenthixol acetate (ZA) is the first parenteral antipsychotic medication introduced for clinical use in the treatment of aggression and agitation that has a relatively prolonged duration of action. The aim of this paper is to explore a number of important ethical and clinical issues that are raised by the use of this novel therapeutic formulation. Method: Relevant literature is explored and several issues are identified from which arguments for and against the use of medication of this type are raised. These issues are considered in general and with the use of a number of stylised clinical scenarios. Result: The use of long-acting antipsychotic medication is complicated by its impact upon patient autonomy, by considerations of informed consent and by the need to provide justice to all patients and staff in a psychiatric treatment setting. The use of ZA in the emergency treatment of psychotic patients may only be justified under specific clinical circumstances and its use is not appropriate as routine chemical restraint. Conclusions: Zuclopenthixol acetate is a novel and potentially useful treatment alternative in the acutely disturbed patient. Institutions in which ZA is used in emergency settings should develop protocols to guide clinicians in its appropriate use and provide monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)660-666
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Emergency treatment
  • Ethics
  • Restraint
  • Sedation
  • Zuclopenthixol acetate

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