Psychotropic drugs prescriptions for patients attending psychiatric outpatient clinics were studied. Of the 52,168 prescriptions written in 1996, 18,265 were systematically, randomly selected and evaluated. Incomplete prescriptions were found; the data missing included duration of treatment (18.75%), sex (9.25%), age (8.75%) and diagnosis (7.50%). Antipsychotics (33.1%), antidepressants (23.2%), anticholinergics (22.0%) and anticonvulsants (12.9%) were the most frequently prescribed drugs. Polypharmacy (85%) was the predominant mode of practice. The most common diagnoses were mood (23.1%), anxiety (17.7%) and schizophrenic (16.2%) disorders. Medical education and quality monitoring programmes are suggested to improve the quality of psychotropic prescriptions and modify multiple pharmacotherapy practice.