Unfortunately the evidence on the usefulness of psychotropic medications, specifically the newest ones, is limited. The Task Force thus did not produce standards of psychiatric treatment but examined the evidence in the scientific literature and the clinical experience available in many countries. Based on this the Task Force produced recommendations to the World Psychiatric Association and drafted a text of a policy for consideration and approval by consensus by the General Assembly of the WPA. This document states general principles and makes policy recommendations on areas of research which are needed, on specific uses for the second-generation antipsychotics, on collaboration with governmental (i.e., WHO) and nongovernmental organizations to address the pricing problems, and on the education of professionals and the public about new treatments.
This second document is an “update” to the first Consensus Statement published in Current Opinion in Psychiatry in autumn 2001 and brings together new evidence about the use and usefulness of the second-generation antipsychotic medications. This evidence comes from a review of the literature undertaken to identify scientific reports published in 2001 (the Technical Review of Evidence about The Use and Usefulness of Second-Generation Antipsychotic Medications published earlier did not include any publications that appeared after 31 December 2000). The review of evidence also covered scientific reports published before January 2001 that had not been included in the previous Review. Some of these previous reports were found by further searches made by the members of the WPA Task Force; others were identified by readers of the Technical Review and by participants in the national meetings held in the years 2000 and 2001.
In addition to the results of the review of evidence, the “update” reflects the comments made during national review meetings that were held in 24 countries (6 in South America, 8 in Asia and the Pacific Area, 1 in Africa, 8 in European countries). These meetings were organized by the national psychiatric society members of the WPA and involved psychiatrists, pharmacologists, neurologists and other experts as well as representatives of patient and family organizations, of the media, of the national governments and of the health industry. The Technical Review that the WPA Task Force had drafted served as the background document for the discussion at national level. It was translated into national languages whenever it was expected that the use of English might hamper the comprehension of the document or participation in the discussions. The review was thus made available in Chinese, Croatian, Czech, German, Japanese, Korean, Polish and Spanish. The comments and suggestions made during these meetings and in their aftermath were most valuable, and it is my pleasant duty to thank all those who prepared the meetings and participated in the discussions as well as those who provided their comments in writing in the course of the consultation process.
The Technical Review and its Update which is presented here served as background documents for the consideration of a Consensus Statement on this matter submitted to the General Assembly of the WPA in Yokohama in 2002.