Psychiatric outpatients given half-strength pills for 2 days A group of psychiatric outpatients at a government hospital were given only half the dose of a drug they need to control psychotic behaviour - the second drug-prescription blunder in the past month. On Wednesday and Thursday, seven patients at the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital were given only 0.5mg of Flupenthixol instead of the 1mg prescribed dosage. The mistake was discovered later on Thursday when the dispenser had to refill the medication and realised the hospital pharmacy had been dispensing the wrong pills - similar in size and colour to the 1mg pills. 'Seven patients had been given the lower dosage since the last refill on June 22 and they were all immediately contacted and given the appropriate dose of medication, along with an apology,' a hospital spokeswoman said. 'As the Flupenthixol was taken in conjunction with other medication, the lowered dosage did not have much effect on the patients. Assessments by psychiatrists considered the short duration of reduced dosage would not affect the patients' clinical condition and none of them have complained of side effects.' A legislator representing the medical sector, Kwok Ka-ki, agreed that a reduced dosage for two days would usually not cause any major problems, but said the hospital needed to review the pharmacy dispensing system. He said that had the mistake not been discovered until later, the patients might have been adversely affected. 'The effects of psychotic disease [would have been] more prominent - they would have been unable to control the symptoms and might have behaviour disturbance, hallucinations, etc,' he said. Dr Kwok said he would be asking the Hospital Authority to investigate the mistake and he hoped for a report at the next monthly meeting. 'It is the duty of all the personnel concerned - the doctor, the pharmacy and nurses - to pay the highest level of attention to the procedure of dispensing,' he said. Patients should immediately inform the doctor if they notice differences in their normal medication or if they feel different in any way, he said. On May 27, a private doctor's clinic in Wong Tai Sin run by Ronald Li Sai-lai discovered it had dispensed mislabelled diabetes drugs to 152 patients seeking treatment for stomach problems. Four people who had been to the surgery since January 3 died and the drug triggered low blood-sugar levels in 65 patients.