Common Use of Antipsychotic Polypharmacy in Older Asian Patients With Schizophrenia (2001–2009)


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Abstract

ObjectiveThe aim of this study was to survey the use of antipsychotic polypharmacy (APP) in older Asian patients with schizophrenia and examine its demographic and clinical correlates.MethodsInformation on hospitalized patients with schizophrenia aged 55 or older was extracted from the database of the Research on Asian Psychotropic Prescription Patterns study. Data on 1439 patients in 6 Asian countries and territories including China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan were analyzed. Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics and antipsychotic prescriptions were recorded using a standardized protocol and data collection procedure.ResultsThe frequency of APP prescription was 51.6% in the pooled sample with wide intercountry variations. Multiple logistic regression analysis of the whole sample showed that patients on APP had higher antipsychotic doses and also were more likely to receive first-generation antipsychotics.ConclusionsUse of APP was common in older Asian patients with schizophrenia. Given the limited evidence supporting its efficacy, the potentially severe side effects and high costs, APP should be used with caution in this population. The reasons for and outcomes of the use of APP in this patient population merit further exploration.

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