Antipsychotic polypharmacy is defined as the concomitant prescribing of more than 1 antipsychotic medication for an individual patient. Despite clinical guideline recommendations, long-acting injectable antipsychotics (LAIAs) are often used together with oral antipsychotics (OAPs) to treat a variety of psychiatric illnesses. Little research exists to address this form of antipsychotic polypharmacy, and its role in therapy is poorly understood. The purpose of this evaluation was to determine the prevalence of this prescribing pattern at our facility, identify provider rationale for polypharmacy, and analyze trends. To our knowledge, this study is the first to describe the prevalence of and rationale for concomitant LAIA and OAP prescribing in the veteran population.Methods
All patients receiving an LAIA at the time of study initiation were included. Long-acting injectable antipsychotics/oral antipsychotics polypharmacy was defined as the use of both agents outside the manufacturer's recommendations for titration and overlap. Statistical analysis was performed to further evaluate prescribing patterns by agent, dose, and indication.Results
Long-acting injectable antipsychotics/oral antipsychotics polypharmacy occurred in 28% (22/79) of subjects. Of these, 50% (11/22) were prescribed the same antipsychotic in both dosage forms, of which 73% (8/11) were risperidone. Patients on LAIA/OAP polypharmacy were half as likely to be on a maximum dose LAIA compared with those on monotherapy (13% vs. 26%).Conclusions
Although LAIA/OAP polypharmacy occurred less frequently than reported in previous literature, this study highlights the need for further research to better understand this prescribing practice.