Cochrane Review Finds No Evidence for “PRN” Drugs in Mental Health Treatment


It is common for “as required” or PRN (Pro re nata) medications to be prescribed during inpatient mental health visits. The most likely drugs prescribed “as needed” include benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and sleeping pills. A newly updated Cochrane review finds, however, that “there is no good evidence” for this practice.

Article →



Previous articlePharmacists Join Physicians’ Rallying Cry for a Ban on Pharma’s DTC Advertising
Next articleMetaphors in Psychiatry
Justin Karter
MIA Research News Editor: Justin M. Karter is the lead research news editor for Mad in America. He completed his doctorate in Counseling Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He also holds graduate degrees in both Journalism and Community Psychology from Point Park University. He brings a particular interest in examining and decoding cultural narratives of mental health and reimagining the institutions built on these assumptions.


  1. Whats wrong with PRN ? This makes no sense to me.

    As needed is much better than steady state drugging.

    Anxiety and insomnia were my complaints and why would I want to do zombie anhedoinia pills all day instead of treating the problem as needed ?

    • Because the alleged pros thought this came from some mysterious brain malfunction. Proper treatment would involve more examination directing a course of treatment without drugs. Alas, the PRN drugs for your difficulties are likely to be addictive.

  2. “The most likely drugs prescribed “as needed” include benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and sleeping pills.”

    As needed by who? The patient or the staff? Because I was surprised to find out that refusing to take a fist full of benzos and anti psychotics “as needed” constituted an “emergency” under the Mental Health Act (despite saying I would become ill as a result) and that you are then surrounded by a dozen staff and forcefully injected.

    I neither wanted or needed these drugs, and yet “no” means “yes”?