Menu

Research into Antipsychotic Discontinuation and Reduction

radar

What is this research?

The Research into Antipsychotic Discontinuation and Reduction (RADAR) trial aims to assess the benefits and harms of a gradual programme of antipsychotic reduction in people with schizophrenia and non-affective psychosis. It is a randomised controlled trial, and participants will either have the antipsychotic reduction strategy or continue with antipsychotic maintenance treatment. The main outcome measure will be social functioning as previous research suggests this may be improved by antipsychotic reduction. The research will also measure relapse, symptoms, quality of life, side effects and adherence.

 

For patients allocated to the antipsychotic reduction arm, antipsychotic medication will be reduced gradually, roughly once every two months, or more slowly if necessary. The reduction will take place over a period of around one year, but will vary according to each individual’s starting regime and response to reduction. Each patient will have an customised schedule drawn up, but this is intended to be flexible, so that patients and clinicians can speed it up or slow it down according to response. There is a protocol for managing any emerging symptoms or early signs of relapse.

 

Why is this research important?

Although antipsychotics are effective at reducing psychotic symptoms and relapse short-term, research into their long-term effects has been inadequate. Therefore, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has funded a trial to assess the benefits and risks of a flexible, supported strategy for antipsychotic dose reduction. Many people with a mental health diagnosis are treated with anti-psychotic medication.

 

For some people, antipsychotic medication can be a very helpful treatment. There has been a lot of research which shows that antipsychotic medication can help with distressing symptoms such as hallucinations or hearing voices. But for some people, the negative side-effects of taking antipsychotic medication outweigh the benefits. Reducing or coming off medication can give people a better quality of life and sense of wellbeing.

 

How are McPin and people affected by mental health problems involved in the study?

The McPin Foundation is supporting the involvement of people with personal experience of this area and facilitate a Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP).

 

The RADAR LEAP is made up of eight people with expertise in anti-psychotic medication through personal use or as a carer for someone with psychosis. It meets regularly to discuss the progress of the study and topics such as future recruitment and study findings.

 

How long will the study last?

The study formally started in January 2016. It completed its preliminary work during 2016 and 2017, including testing if service users would be willing to join a trial seeking to reduce medication use and qualitative work with mental health teams to understand barriers and facilitators to this way of working. Towards the end of 2017 the main trial started and recruitment is progressing across a number of NHS Trusts. The RADAR LEAP now meets twice a year to provide ongoing input. It is a 6 year funded study and will finish in January 2022.

 

Who do I contact for more information about the study?

Please visit the UCL website for more information on the RADAR study.

 

You can contact the RADAR research team by email: radar@nelft.nhs.uk.

 

For further information about the involvement of people affected by mental health problems in the RADAR study please email: contact@mcpin.org

 

We are unable to provide guidance to individuals about their own medication or how best to reduce antipsychotic medication. If you have questions about your own medication, we advise that you discuss these with your GP or your psychiatrist.