Antipsychotic monotherapy and polypharmacy in the naturalistic treatment of schizophrenia with atypical antipsychotics <

Outcomes Research, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
BMC Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 2.21). 05/2005; 5(1):26. DOI: 10.1186/1471-244X-5-26
Source: PubMed


Antipsychotic monotherapy is recognized as the treatment of choice for patients with schizophrenia. Simultaneous treatment with multiple antipsychotics (polypharmacy) is suggested by some expert consensus guidelines as the last resort after exhausting monotherapy alternatives. This study assessed the annual rate and duration of antipsychotic monotherapy and its inverse, antipsychotic polypharmacy, among schizophrenia patients initiated on commonly used atypical antipsychotic medications.
Data were drawn from a large prospective naturalistic study of patients treated for schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, conducted 7/1997-9/2003. Analyses focused on patients (N = 796) who were initiated during the study on olanzapine (N = 405), quetiapine (N = 115), or risperidone (N = 276). The percentage of patients with monotherapy on the index antipsychotic over the 1-year post initiation, and the cumulative number of days on monotherapy were calculated for all patients and for each of the 3 atypical antipsychotic treatment groups. Analyses employed repeated measures generalized linear models and non-parametric bootstrap re-sampling, controlling for patient characteristics.
During the 1-year period, only a third (35.7%) of the patients were treated predominately with monotherapy (> 300 days). Most patients (57.7%) had at least one prolonged period of antipsychotic polypharmacy (> 60 consecutive days). Patients averaged 195.5 days on monotherapy, 155.7 days on polypharmacy, and 13.9 days without antipsychotic therapy. Olanzapine-initiated patients were significantly more likely to be on monotherapy with the initiating antipsychotic during the 1-year post initiation compared to risperidone (p = .043) or quetiapine (p = .002). The number of monotherapy days was significantly greater for olanzapine than quetiapine (p < .001), but not for olanzapine versus risperidone, or for risperidone versus quetiapine-initiated patients.
Despite guidelines recommending the use of polypharmacy only as a last resort, the use of antipsychotic polypharmacy for prolonged periods is very common during the treatment of schizophrenia patients in usual care settings. In addition, in this non-randomized naturalistic observational study, the most commonly used atypical antipsychotics significantly differed on the rate and duration of antipsychotic monotherapy. Reasons for and the impact of the predominant use of polypharmacy will require further study.

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    • "Common approaches to treatment are under-researched. For example, poly-pharmacy is prevalent and may be used in preference to initiating clozapine in people whose illness is resistant to treatment [47]. There are, however, only four studies investigating combinations of non-clozapine antipsychotics (total of 297 participants). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Schizophrenia is a common serious mental health condition which has significant morbidity and financial consequences. The mainstay of treatment has been antipsychotic medication but one third of people will have a `treatment resistant¿ and most disabling and costly illness. The aim of this survey was to produce a broad overview of available randomised evidence for interventions for people whose schizophrenic illness has been designated `treatment resistant¿.Method We searched the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group¿s comprehensive Trials Register, selected all relevant randomised trials and, taking care not to double count, extracted the number of people randomised within each study. Finally we sought relevant reviews on the Cochrane Library and investigated how data on this subgroup of people had been presented.ResultsWe identified 542 relevant papers based on 268 trials (Average size 64.8 SD 61.6, range 7¿526, median 56 IQR 47.3, mode 60). The most studied intervention is clozapine with 82 studies (total n¿=¿6299) comparing it against other anti-psychotic medications. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) supplementing a standard care and risperidone supplementation of clozapine has also been extensively evaluated within trials. Many approaches, however, were clearly under researched. There were only four studies investigating combinations of non-clozapine antipsychotics. Only two psychological approaches (CBT and Family Rehabilitation Training) had more than two studies. Cochrane reviews rarely presented data specific to this important clinical sub-group.Conclusions This survey provides a broad taxonomy of how much evaluative research has been carried out investigating interventions for people with treatment resistant schizophrenia. Over 280 trials have been undertaken but, with a few exceptions, most treatment approaches - and some in common use - have only one or two relevant but small trials. Too infrequently the leading reviews fail to highlight the paucity of evidence in this area ¿ as these reviews are maintained this shortcoming should be addressed.
    BMC Psychiatry 09/2014; 14(1):253. DOI:10.1186/s12888-014-0253-4 · 2.21 Impact Factor
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    • "The concurrent use of two or more antipsychotic drugs, also called 'antipsychotic polypharmacy' (Tapp et al., 2005), is common in clinical practice (Faries et al., 2005). The frequency of American schizophrenia patients on APP increased from 32% in 1998 to 41% by 2000 (Ganguly et al., 2004). "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: This study examined the use, demographic and clinical correlates of antipsychotic polypharmacy (APP) and its associations with treatment satisfaction and quality of life (QOL) in schizophrenia patients in China. Method: A total of 4239 patients in 45 nationwide Chinese psychiatric hospitals/centers were interviewed in 2012 in the third cross-sectional study, with the first two having been conducted in 2002 and 2006. Patients' socio-demographic and clinical characteristics, including psychopathology, side effects, satisfaction with treatment and QOL, were recorded using a standardized protocol and data collection procedure. Results: The proportion of APP prescriptions in 2012 was 34.2%, which was significantly higher than the frequency of APP in 2002 (26.1%) and 2006 (26.4%) (p<0.001). Of patients on APP, 91.1% received two antipsychotics, 8.6% received three and 0.3% received four or more antipsychotics. Multiple logistic regression analyses revealed that compared to those on antipsychotic monotherapy, patients on APP and their families had lower satisfaction with treatment, had higher QOL in the mental domain, younger age of onset, more side effects, higher doses of antipsychotics and were more likely to receive first-generation antipsychotics and less likely to receive benzodiazepines (total R (2)=0.31, p<0.001). Conclusions: APP was found in about one in three schizophrenia patients. The prevalence of APP seems to have been increasing since 2002. Considering the increased frequency of drug-induced side effects and the patients' and their relatives' dissatisfaction with antipsychotic treatment, further examination of the rationale and appropriateness of APP and its alternatives is warranted.
    Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 06/2014; 49(2). DOI:10.1177/0004867414536931 · 3.41 Impact Factor
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    • "This trend may be supported by evidence suggesting that risperidone and olanzapine seem to be more effective than other first line SGA [31]. Faries et al. found that olanzapineinitiated patients were significantly more likely to be on monotherapy with the initiating antipsychotic during the 1-year post initiation compared to risperidone or quetiapine [30]. Moreover, the predicted mean number of days on baseline monotherapy was significantly longer for olanzapine than for risperidone, quetiapine, or amisulpride [28]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The term antipsychotic polypharmacy (APP) refers to the concurrent use of two or more antipsychotic drugs in schizophrenia. The aim of this study was to investigate the range of APP in schizophrenic patients discharged from psychiatric units in Poland, and to determine its demographical and clinical correlates. Methods Data on the pharmacological treatment of 207 patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, discharged from six psychiatric hospitals from September–December 2011 were recorded by experienced psychiatrists. Clinical and demographical information was obtained on each patient. The severity of symptoms at admission, and their improvement during hospitalization were assessed using the Clinical Global Impression Scale. Results At discharge, 52.7% of the patients were prescribed one, 42.5% two and 4.8% three antipsychotic drugs (AP). When two AP were applied, it was usually a combination of two second generation antipsychotics (SGA) (46%), or of both first generation antipsychotics (FGA) and SGA (48%). The SGA's olanzapine and risperidone were those most commonly prescribed. Patients treated with two or more AP had a higher number of previous hospitalizations than patients receiving antipsychotic monotherapy. Mood stabilizers were prescribed for nearly one third of the patients, while antidepressants and benzodiazepines were prescribed for fewer than 10%. Conclusions The prevalence of polypharmacy in Poland is similar to that reported in other countries. This may suggest that, in a substantial proportion of schizophrenic patients clinical response to the antipsychotic monotherapy is unsatisfactory. Further studies focusing on the efficacy and safety of strategies in the treatment of patients with schizophrenia not responding to antipsychotic monotherapy are necessary.
    Pharmacological reports: PR 01/2014; 66(4):613–617. · 1.93 Impact Factor
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