Explains what antipsychotics are used for, how the medication works, possible side effects and information about withdrawal.
Finding the best daily dose of antipsychotic for you will depend on lots of factors, such as:
You and your doctor should think of a new antipsychotic as a trial, to see whether it helps you and how well it suits you. The aim should be to find a daily dose where the benefits outweigh any side effects, so you can lead the life you want as far as possible.
As a guideline:
Generally, antipsychotics aren’t licensed for use above the maximum dosages published in the BNF (British National Formulary – the main drug reference book for prescribers). The BNF gives maximum dosages for some antipsychotics but not all of them. You can find these details for each drug in our antipsychotics A-Z.
However, there are some circumstances where you may end up with a total daily dose above the recommended maximum. These include:
You have a right to know how much medication you're taking in total, including prn doses – so if you're not confident in working this out for yourself, your doctor or pharmacist should be able to explain it to you. Ask them to help you calculate your dose of each drug as a percentage of the BNF recommended maximum for that drug, then add the percentages together to see if the total comes to more than 100%. More than 100% in total would mean your daily dose is exceeding the recommended maximum. Your pharmacist may be able to access a antipsychotic dosage ready reckoner chart published by the Prescribing Observatory for Mental Health UK (POMH-UK) as a guide to help you work out the percentages more easily.
If you are being prescribed more than the recommended daily maximum, your doctor has a duty to review this every day. But even if your dosage is within the recommended range, if you feel that your daily dose is too high for you then it's important to discuss it with your doctor and ask them to review it.
This information was published in 2016. We will revise it in 2019.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.