CMHC practices related to tardive dyskinesia screening and informed consent for neuroleptic drugs

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry

Publication Date


Document Type



Antipsychotic Agents; Community Mental Health Centers; Cross-Sectional Studies; Dyskinesia, Drug-Induced; Health Policy; Humans; Incidence; Informed Consent; Liability, Legal; Mass Screening; Massachusetts; Neurologic Examination; Patient Care Team; Pilot Projects




OBJECTIVE: The authors conducted a national survey of community mental health centers to determine their policies and practices about screening patients for tardive dyskinesia and obtaining informed consent for use of neuroleptic drugs.

METHODS: Clinical directors of 235 centers in the United States, selected by geographic region and population, were surveyed through a nine-item questionnaire.

RESULTS: Although nearly all the 160 respondents reported that they screened patients for tardive dyskinesia, only about two-fifths had formal screening policies, and about two-fifths had screening programs. The Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale examination was used by almost two-thirds of respondents who screened patients, and about one-fifth relied on unstructured observation. Slightly more than half of respondents specified a frequency for screening examinations, at a modal interval of six months. Seventy percent used nonpsychiatric clinicians for screening. Almost three-quarters of the respondents had informed consent policies for use of neuroleptics. Urban centers tended to be more aware than rural centers of the American Psychiatric Association's tardive dyskinesia screening guidelines. They also used fewer nonmedical practitioners for screening and were more likely to obtain informed consent for neuroleptics.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite the existence of APA guidelines and state policies and regulations about tardive dyskinesia screening, a national effort to educate clinicians about prevention of tardive dyskinesia is still needed.


Hosp Community Psychiatry. 1994 Apr;45(4):343-6. Link to article on publisher's website

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Hospital and community psychiatry

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID