What is it like to take antipsychotic medication? A qualitative study of patients with first-episode psychosis

Richard Gray, Katherine Deane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Low-dose antipsychotic medication is an important part of treatment for people experiencing a first episode of psychosis. Little is known about this group of patients’ experiences of taking medication.
Method: A qualitative study of purposively sampled young people experiencing a first episode of psychosis was carried out. A mental health nurse working in the early psychosis team interviewed participants using a structured topic guide. Interviews were subjected to thematic analysis.
Results: Interviews were completed with 20 young people. Thematic analysis generated six themes: (1) the drugs do work, (2) the drugs don’t work (as well as I’d like), (3) side effects, (4) the indirect effects of medication, (5) rage against the machine and (6) the not trivial issues about medication.
Conclusion: Our overarching meta-theme was that young people’s experience of taking antipsychotics was complex; medication was often considered good and bad at the same time. Our observations underpin the importance of helping patients think through the use of antipsychotic medication in supporting their personal recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-115
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Issue number2
Early online date23 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • psychosis
  • medication adherence
  • qualitative
  • medication acceptability

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