Cincinnati—Two University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine
professors have released a study that reviewed recent Federal Court of
Appeals opinions on the appropriateness and constitutionality of
psychotropic medication treatment of individuals who are involuntarily
committed hospitals, whether as patients, prisoners, or pretrial
detainees. They found that with the advent of the newer atypical
antipsychotic medications that have fewer side effects, the current
policy regarding involuntarily treating these patients with severe
mental illnesses should be liberalized, making it easier for physicians
to treat patients in need of medication treatment.
"Now that we
have this new generation of antipsychotic medication, the courts should
take another look at this issue and allow doctors to determine the best
treatment for their patients," says Paul A. Nidich, JD, adjunct
assistant professor of psychiatry, and co-author of the review with
Jacqueline Collins, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry. Their
findings were published in The Health Lawyer, a publication of the Health Law Section of the American Bar Association.
the issue has application to both civil and criminal law situations,
the Supreme Court of the United States has accepted very few mental
health cases for review and has never squarely addressed this
particular topic. If courts and legislators adopt their proposal, these
researchers believe that patients will receive better treatment and the
public as a whole also will be better served.