Antipsychotic Prescribing Pathways, Polypharmacy, and Clozapine Use in Treatment of Schizophrenia
ABSTRACT OBJECTIVE To ensure optimal care for patients with schizophrenia, antipsychotic medications must be appropriately prescribed and used. Therefore, the primary objectives of this study were to identify and describe pathways for antipsychotic prescribing, assess the consistency of observed pathways with treatment guidelines, and describe variability across facilities. METHODS Data from Veterans Affairs administrative data sets from fiscal year (FY) 2003 to FY 2007 were gathered for analysis in this retrospective cohort study of antipsychotic prescribing pathways among 13 facilities across two regional networks. Patients with a new episode of care for schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder in FY 2005 were identified, and antipsychotic prescribing history was obtained for two years before and after the index diagnosis. Demographic characteristics and distribution of comorbidities were assessed. Median medical center rates of polypharmacy were calculated and compared with Fisher's exact test. RESULTS Of 1,923 patients with a new episode of schizophrenia care, 1,003 (52%) had complete data on prescribing pathways. A majority (74%) of patients were prescribed antipsychotic monotherapy, and 19% received antipsychotic polypharmacy. Of patients receiving antipsychotic polypharmacy, 65% began polypharmacy within 90 days of starting any antipsychotic treatment. There was a fourfold difference in polypharmacy across facilities. Antipsychotic polypharmacy was not associated with geographic location or medical center patient volume. Clozapine utilization was low (0%-2%). CONCLUSIONS Retrospective examination of longitudinal prescribing patterns identified multiple antipsychotic prescribing pathways. Although most patients received guideline-concordant care, antipsychotic polypharmacy was commonly used as initial treatment, and there was substantial variability among facilities. Study findings suggest the utility of secondary data to assess treatment adaptation or switching for practical clinical trials.
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ABSTRACT: Second generation antipsychotics (SGAs) are widely used for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), although without strong evidence base. With substantial numbers of veterans returning from Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts with PTSD, it is important to characterize the extent of SGA use and identify associated factors. We determined time trends and patient characteristics associated with the use of SGAs in veterans with PTSD, without comorbid schizophrenia or bipolar disorders, using the Department of Veterans Affairs national administrative data 2003-2010. Among 732 085 veterans with PTSD, 27.6% received an intentional trial of an SGA in 2003-2010. The annual number treated with SGAs almost doubled (45 268 to 84 197, p < 0.001), while prescribing rates decreased (28.6% to 21.5%, p < 0.001). In multivariate analyses, African Americans (odds ratio (OR) = 1.07, 95%confidence interval (CI) = 1.06-1.09) and Hispanics (OR = 1.13, 95%CI = 1.10-1.17) were more likely to receive SGAs than Whites. Strongest clinical associations were with prior diagnosis of depression (OR = 1.96; 95%CI = 1.94-1.99), substance use disorders (OR = 1.86; 95%CI = 1.84-1.88), and other anxiety disorders (OR = 1.27; 95%CI = 1.26-1.29) (all p - < 0.0001) as well as cardiovascular risk factors. Veterans previously deployed to Iraq/Afghanistan had lower likelihood of SGA receipt. Substantial regional differences were demonstrated (South > Northeast; Midwest and West < Northeast; p < 0.0001); regional administrative units (veterans integrated service networks) contributed minimally to regional differences. Post-traumatic stress disorder population growth is driving substantial increases in SGA use. Decreasing rates of the Department of Veterans Affairs prescribing may be due to integrated system-wide mechanisms (e.g., national practice guidelines), although regional variations remain prominent. These analyses provide foundational steps for identifying modifiable provider-level and organization-level determinants of SGA prescription in this growing population. Published 2013. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety 01/2014; 23(1). DOI:10.1002/pds.3507 · 3.17 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Clozapine effectiveness in the treatment of refractory schizophrenia has been sustained by published evidence in the last two decades, despite the introduction of safer options. Current clinical practice guidelines have strongly recommended the use of clozapine in treatment-resistant schizophrenia, but prescribing trends do not appear to have followed such recommendations. Clozapine is still underutilized especially in patients at risk of suicide. It seems that physicians are hesitant in prescribing clozapine due to concerns about serious adverse effects. Recent reports have highlighted the need to inform health professionals about the benefits of treating patients with clozapine and have voiced concerns about the underutilization of clozapine especially in patients at risk of suicide. Guidelines and prescribing patterns reported in various countries worldwide are discussed. Suggestions on how to optimize clozapine utilization have been published but more efforts are needed to properly inform and support prescribers' practices.BMC Psychiatry 04/2014; 14(1):102. DOI:10.1186/1471-244X-14-102 · 2.24 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Insufficient treatment of psychosis often manifests as violent and aggressive behaviors that are dangerous to the patient and others, and that warrant treatment strategies which are not considered first-line, evidence-based practices. Such treatment strategies include both antipsychotic polypharmacy (simultaneous use of 2 antipsychotics) and high-dose antipsychotic monotherapy. Here we discuss the hypothesized neurobiological substrates of various types of violence and aggression, as well as providing arguments for the use of antipsychotic polypharmacy and high-dose monotherapy to target dysfunctional neurocircuitry in the subpopulation of patients that is treatment-resistant, violent, and aggressive. In this review, we focus primarily on the data supporting the use of second-generation, atypical antipsychotics both at high doses and in combination with other antipsychotics.CNS spectrums 08/2014; 19(5):1-10. DOI:10.1017/S1092852914000388 · 1.30 Impact Factor