St. John of God College of Health Sciences, Mzuzu.
• Antipsychotic adverse effects are the major reason for non•
compliance to treatment.
Antipsychotic adverse effects are undesirable, non-therapeutic
and often predictable consequences of antipsychotic drugs
(Fortinash & Worret, 2003:676).
Knowledge of these helps clients manage the adverse effects.
Not much information has been documented on clients’
knowledge, attitudes and practices in Africa and let alone in
Studies done in Western countries have shown that clients lack
knowledge on the potential adverse effects and their
management as a result most of them stop taking these
 To assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices of clients on
antipsychotic adverse effects at Bwaila psychiatric clinic in
• Quantitative study, cross-sectional descriptive design.
• Eighty (80) clients were sampled using systematic sampling.
• A self developed questionnaire was used to collect data.
• Ethical clearance, institutional authorization and consent for
the study were sought from University of Malawi - KCN, the
District Health Officer - Lilongwe district, and participants of
the study respectively.
• SPSS was used to analyze data. Descriptive statistics were
used to describe and analyze the selected variables.
 Sample description:
 All 80 clients who were sampled participated, giving a 100%
response rate.
 The mean range was 31-40 years. The majority of the study
subjects were men, 63% (n=50) .
 46.25% (37) of the subjects were married, 37.5% (30) were
single, 12.5% (10) were divorced and the remaining 3.75% (3)
were widowed.
 Knowledge of antipsychotic adverse effects
 58 out of 80 had never been informed about potential adverse
effects (73%).
 64 out of 80 had inadequate knowledge (80%).
 65 out of 80 did not know how to manage the adverse effects
• Attitudes of clients towards antipsychotic adverse
• 53 out of 80 had negative attitudes (66%).
• 64 out of 80 indicated that they can recommend their friends
and relatives to start antipsychotics if need arise (80%).
• Practices after experiencing adverse effects
• 61 out of 80 had good practices (76%).
• 52 out of 80 respondents indicated to have never stopped
taking treatment despite experiencing the adverse effects
 The findings on knowledge were similar with most studies,
nurses concern is to alleviate the psychotic symptoms
forgetting that the drugs might cause discomforts which might
lead to treatment non-compliance.
 On attitude, the findings are similar with most studies where
the majority had negative attitudes.
 However on practices the findings differed with the study
findings of Mitchel and Selmes (2007:4) where 82% reported
missing doses or stopping treatment earlier than recommended
because of the experienced adverse effects.
 Study limitations and implications
 Generalizability difficult as it only focused in
Lilongwe (Bwaila).
 Study representation - subjects not equally represented
 Validity of the tool - self developed.
• Psycho-education on common antipsychotic adverse effects
and other nursing strategies that promote awareness should be
reviewed regularly.
Nurses should plan their daily activities which must include
issues of psycho-education, nurse managers must ensure that
these are followed.
Refresher courses on antipsychotic adverse effects and their
management should be done regularly to all health service
Similar study should be done in all mental health institutions.
Research should be done to assess knowledge of health care
providers on antipsychotic adverse effects and their
 Mr. Michael Chisimba Nyirenda and Dr. I.W.A Musisi my

knowledge, attitudes and practices of clients on antipsychotic