Background: The decision to adopt forced medication in psychiatric care is particularly relevant from a clinical and ethical viewpoint. The European Commission has funded the EUNOMIA study in order to develop European recommendations for good clinical practice on coercive measures, including forced medication. Methods: The recommendations on forced medication have been developed in 11 countries with the involvement of national clinical leaders, key-professionals and stakeholders’ representatives. The national recommendations have been subsequently summarized into a European shared document. Results: Several cross-national differences exist in the use of forced medication. These differences are mainly due to legal and policy making aspects, rather than to clinical situations. In fact, countries agreed that forced medication can be allowed only if the following criteria are present: 1) a therapeutic intervention is urgently needed; 2) the voluntary intake of medications is consistently rejected; 3) the patient is not aware of his/her condition. Patients’ dignity, privacy and safety shall be preserved at all times. Conclusion: The results of our study show the need of developing guidelines on the use of forced medication in psychiatric practice, that should be considered as the last resort and only when other therapeutic option have failed.
- Coercive measures
- Forced medication