Psychiatrists debate risk of early antipsychotics trial

Professor Patrick McGorry has been forced to defend his proposal to investigate the use of antipsychotics in young people after other experts objected on ethical grounds to a planned trial.

Thirteen local and international clinicians and researchers lodged an objection with Melbourne Health, which had provided ethics approval for the trial of quetiapine for first episode psychosis in patients aged 15 – 40 at ultra-high risk of progressing to psychotic disorders.

The authors of the objection letter, including Healthy Skepticism spokesperson Associate Professor Jon Jureidini, questioned the ethics of preventing psychosis in a few patients at the expense of potential harm to the majority.

A media story reported that Professor McGorry, executive director of Orygen Youth Health, had aborted the trial amid complaints the study was unethical.

However, a spokesperson for Melbourne Health confirmed Professor McGorry terminated the trial