Atypical antipsychotics in ordinary clinical practice: A pharmaco- epidemiologic survey in a south London service

S. Frangou, M. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The introduction of atypical antipsychotics has triggered a reevaluation of treatment strategies in schizophrenia. Although research findings inform about the efficacy and safety of drugs, it is the decisions made daily in ordinary practice that affect the vast majority of patients. The aim of this paper was to examine the use of atypical antipsychotics in clinical care, by means of a survey of prescribing practices for clozapine, risperidone, olanzapine, sertindole and quetiapine for all patients treated for DSM-IV schizophrenia within a psychiatric service. Seventy-five (26%) of the 286 patients identified were on atypical antipsychotics. Patients on clozapine were mostly male, had more than 15 years of contact with psychiatric services and were poor responders. Patients prescribed other atypicals had responded to prior treatment with typical neuroleptics and had less than five years of contact with psychiatric services. Gender distribution was equal in this group. The use of research criteria for treatment resistance identified only one patient, as prolonged use of high'dose neuroleptics was uncommon. The new atypical antipsychotics appear to be replacing older neuroleptics as the first-line treatment of schizophrenia while clozapine is mostly reserved for poor responders. Clinicians' definition of treatment resistance was variable and below the threshold used in research. (C) 2000 Editions scientifiques et medicales Elsevier SAS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-226
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Antipsychotics
  • Pharmaco-epidemiology
  • Prescribing
  • Schizophrenia


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