Use of Psychotropic “Pro Re Nata” Medications by Patients Attending the Outpatient Clinic in a Hospital: A Qualitative Exploration

Kingston Rajiah, Mari Kannan Maharajan, Hemawathi Ramaya, Wan Nur Asyiken Wan Ab Rahman

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Introduction: Administration of psychotropic pro re nata (PRN) medications is influenced by diverse factors such as legal use of PRN medications, the attitude of patients, personal bias, and stigma toward such medication use. While PRN prescriptions increase the efficiency of care and encourage patients to participate in self-care, the use of psychotropic PRN medications by outpatients has raised concerns about its risks of harm, especially for the outpatients. This study explored the use of psychotropic PRN medications by patients attending the outpatient clinic in a hospital. Methods: Qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted. Purposeful sampling was done to achieve cases with enriched information. Participants were chosen regardless of their ethnicity and were selected using the database and patient records in the clinic. Patients 18 years of age prescribed PRN psychotropic medications attending outpatient clinics in a hospital were included. Vulnerable patients (e.g., pregnant ladies, prisoners, cognitively impaired individual, AIDS/HIV subjects, and terminally ill subjects) were excluded. Results: This study revealed the patients' perspectives and experiences on self-management of psychotropic PRN medications. The themes that emerged were clustered as education and background, knowledge on psychotropic medications, frequency of medication intake, underuse of medication, the overdose of medication, side effects concern, source of information, and personal experience. Conclusions: Patients' understanding of medication, inappropriate medication use, cues to action, and use of alternatives are the factors that affected the self-management of psychotropic PRN medications by the patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number617147
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers in Medicine
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 23 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by Institute for Research, Development and Innovation (IRDI), International Medical University, Malaysia.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Rajiah, Maharajan, Ramaya and Wan Ab Rahman.


  • decision-making
  • medication safety
  • patient autonomy
  • psychotropic medicine
  • self-management
  • self-medication


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