Purpose: Little is known about consumer information needs regarding antipsychotic medicines. Medicines call centre (MCC)-derived data are underutilised; and could provide insight into issues of importance to consumers. This study aimed to explore consumers’ information needs about antipsychotic medication sought from a national MCC in Australia.
Methods: Questions received by the National Prescribing Service Medicines Line relating to antipsychotic medication from September 2002 to June 2010 were examined by antipsychotic subclass and in relation to other medication queries.
Results: We identified 6,295 calls related to antipsychotic medication. While female callers predominated, the percentage of males with antipsychotic questions was statistically significantly higher than for other medication calls (33.9 vs 22.6 %; p < 0.001). There were distinct gender differences in medicines information seeking across age ranges. Younger men asked about second-generation antipsychotics, shifting toward first-generation antipsychotics after 45 years of age. Female interest in both subclasses was comparable, irrespective of age. Most callers asking about antipsychotics sought information for themselves (69.4 %). Callers were primarily concerned about safety (57.0 %), especially adverse drug reactions (28.8 %), and were more often prompted by a worrying symptom (23.8 %) compared with the rest of calls (17.2 %). Trends of antipsychotic questions received corresponded with antipsychotic prescription data.
Conclusions: The number of calls received by this MCC over time reveals an ongoing consumer need for additional, targeted information about antipsychotics. Noticeable was the relatively high frequency of young male callers asking about antipsychotics, indicating that call centres could be a way to reach these traditionally poor users of health services.