Don’t routinely prescribe two or more antipsychotic medications concurrently.
Concurrent prescription of two or more antipsychotic medications is common, although the evidence for the efficacy and safety of this practice is limited. In addition, concurrent use of more than one antipsychotic medication may increase the potential for side effects, drug-drug interactions, and difficulties with adherence. There may be some circumstances when it is appropriate and beneficial to prescribe two or more antipsychotic medications concurrently, such as when changing from one medication to another or when an optimal dose of one antipsychotic medication is not sufficient to reduce symptoms of schizophrenia. However, even in the treatment of schizophrenia, before prescribing two or more antipsychotic medications concurrently, it is important to consider other strongly evidence-based options such as a trial of clozapine or adding an evidence-based psychotherapy.
These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) created a work group of members from the Council on Research and Quality Care (CRQC) to identify, refine and ascertain the degree of consensus for five proposed items. Two rounds of surveys were used to arrive at the final list: the first round narrowed the list from more than 20 potential items by inquiring about the extent of overuse, the impact on patients’ health, the associated costs of care and the level of evidence for each treatment or procedure; and the second gauged membership support for the top five and asked for suggested revisions and comments. The surveys targeted the CRQC; the Council on Geriatric Psychiatry; the Council on Children, Adolescents, and Their Families; and the Assembly, which is the APA’s governing body consisting of representative psychiatrists from around the country. After the work group incorporated feedback from the two large surveys, the APA’s Board of Trustees Executive Committee reviewed and unanimously approved the final list.
On April 22, 2015, APA revised item 3. Read more about these changes and rationale.
For APA disclosure and conflict of interest policy please visit www.psychiatry.org.
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