- Explain to patients who ask that antipsychotic medications work more or less well, depending on the patient, and all have side effects that may be distressing.
- Note that this study suggests that if a drug is working relatively well, changing to another is unlikely to improve matters.
- Note that this study suggests that before switching a patient to a new drug, consider trying to optimize the current regimen through such measures as dose adjustments.
NEW YORK, Dec. 1 -- For schizophrenia patients already doing well on antipsychotic medication, switching drugs to improve symptom control may backfire.
In a large prospective study, many patients who were randomly assigned to continue the same medication they were already on did better than those who were switched, Susan Essock, Ph.D., of Mount Sinai here, and colleagues, reported in the December issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
"The stayers did better, which underscores the risk associated with changing anti-psychotic medications," Dr. Essock said during a press conference.
The finding came from the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) trial, which compared Trilafon (perphenazine) with four so-called second generation medications, Zyprexa (olanzapine), Geodon (ziprasidone), Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate), and Risperdal (risperidone).