How psychotropic polypharmacy in schizophrenia begins: a longitudinal perspective.

Department of Neuropsychiatry, Keio University School of Medicine, and Department of Psychiatry, Komagino Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.
Pharmacopsychiatry (Impact Factor: 2.17). 12/2011; 45(4):133-7. DOI: 10.1055/s-0031-1297934
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT While patients with schizophrenia are often treated with psychotropic polypharmacy, how and when polypharmacy begins is not well documented.
A systematic chart review of 300 patients, 100 of whom were psychotropic-free prior to their first visit, was conducted to examine 2-year longitudinal prescription patterns of concomitant psychotropics, in addition to a primary antipsychotic.
Overall polypharmacy occurred in 79% patients, with 2-year rates of the use of hypnotics, benzodiazepine derivative anxiolytics, anticholinergic drugs, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers were 56.7, 49.7, 38.3, 21.3, and 14.0%, respectively. Once polypharmacy had started, it was continued until their final visit in >70% of the patients. In a subgroup of 100 psychotropic-free patients, mood stabilizers, antidepressants, anticholinergic antiparkinsonian drugs, anxiolytics, and hypnotics were initiated after 2.3, 2.3, 2.1, 1.6, and 1.5 antipsychotics had been prescribed, respectively (mean duration before the introduction of a concomitant drug in days: 17.7, 121.6, 86.4, 32.1, and, 57.7, respectively).
Routine practice deviates significantly from algorithms--with polypharmacy often being initiated early, often a without trial of other options, and once started commonly stays.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES Use of anxiolytics-hypnotics, including benzodiazepines and "z" hypnotics, is a public health concern. This study aimed to investigate the trends in prevalence of anxiolytic-hypnotic drug use and polypharmacy (simultaneous use of two or more anxiolytics-hypnotics) in Taiwan. METHODS A dynamic sample of one million individuals who were randomly selected from the National Health Insurance database was used to detect populationwide trends in the use of anxiolytics-hypnotics in Taiwan between 2002 and 2009. The analyses included drugs that are administered orally, intravenously, or intramuscularly as well as single or compound drugs. The authors identified the number of individuals who used the drugs, the sum of days of reported drug use for all individuals (person-days), and the distribution of anxiolytic-hypnotic polypharmacy for all claims for ambulatory, pharmacy, and hospital care. RESULTS Annual prevalence of any anxiolytic-hypnotic use in Taiwan was higher than 20%. The number of person-days greatly increased from 2002 (4.0%) to 2009 (6.6%). The increases in use between 2002 and 2009 were greatest for clonazepam (prevalence, 7% versus 1.8%; person-days, .2% versus .6%) and zolpidem (prevalence, 2.4% versus 4.2%; person-days, .5% versus 1.5%). Polypharmacy accounted for almost 70% of all person-days of anxiolytic-hypnotic use. CONCLUSIONS This nationwide, population-based survey presents real-world epidemiological evidence about anxiolytic-hypnotic use. The adverse effects of the long-term use of anxiolytics-hypnotics have been established, and unnecessary use of these drugs, particularly in polypharmacy regimens, should be avoided.
    Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.) 11/2013; · 2.81 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Commonly used statistical measures to quantify the likelihood of an adverse drug event (ADE) from clinical trials include risk ratio; odds ratio; and number needed to harm (NNH), the reciprocal of absolute risk. This critical review focused on NNH, specifically on its limitations in controlled trials with psychotropic medication. Data for this evaluation were obtained primarily from articles in MEDLINE from 1988 to 2012. Limitations of NNH were found to include the following: a) arbitrary binary cutoffs for continuous measures, b) limited use of confidence intervals, c) limited adjustments for potential baseline confounders, d) limited adjustments for differences in dose and treatment duration, e) rare consideration of high attrition rates, f) variable use of the term harm, g) oversimplified single harm comparisons, h) frequent biased design and reporting, i) undue emphasis on less severe ADEs, j) application primarily to short-term clinical trials, and k) little or no generalizability in community practice. In sum, the NNH metric supplies very limited information on the risks of psychotropic medication. Postmarketing surveillance of community treatment populations using case-control methodology provides far more useful data on serious ADEs.
    The Journal of nervous and mental disease 08/2013; 201(8):714-8. · 1.81 Impact Factor