Differences in schizophrenia treatments by race and ethnicity—analysis of electronic health records

Candice Medina, Ayooluwa Akinkunmi, Nevaeh Bland, Eva Velthorst, Avi Reichenberg, Vahe Khachadourian, Amirhossein Modabbernia, Magdalena Janecka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Racial disparities in prescriptions of anti-psychotics have been highlighted before. However, (i) the evidence on other medications, including anti-depressant or mood stabilizing medications is lacking, and (ii) the role of potentially confounding factors and (iii) specificity of such disparities to schizophrenia (SCZ), are still unknown. We used electronic health records (EHRs) from 224,212 adults to estimate the odds ratios of receiving a prescription for different nervous system medications among patients with SCZ of different race/ethnicity, and analogous linear models to investigate differences in prescribed medication doses. To verify specificity of the observed patterns to SCZ, we conducted analogous analyses in depression and bipolar disorder (BD) patients. We found that Black/African American (AA) and Hispanic patients with SCZ were more likely to be prescribed haloperidol (Black/AA: OR = 1.52 (1.33–1.74); Hispanic: OR = 1.32 (1.12–1.55)) or risperidone (Black/AA: OR = 1.27 (1.11–1.45); Hispanic: OR = 1.40 (1.19–1.64)), but less likely to be prescribed clozapine (Black/AA: OR = 0.40 (0.33-0.49); Hispanic: OR = 0.45 (0.35-0.58)), compared to white patients. There were no race/ethnicity-related differences in the prescribed medication doses. These patterns were not specific to SCZ: Asian, Hispanic and Black/AA patients with BD or depression were more likely to be prescribed anti-psychotics, but less likely to be prescribed antidepressants or mood-stabilizers. In conclusion, we found racial/ethnic disparities in the medications prescribed to patients with SCZ and other psychiatric conditions. We discuss the potential implications for the quality of care for patients of diverse races/ethnicities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


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