Surveys of prescribing antipsychotics (AP) in different countries have identified relatively widespread use of polypharmacy in treatment of schizophrenia. It is a common practice, despite guidelines recommendations of antipsychotic monotherapy.
The aim of the study was to determine the pattern of psychotropic prescribing including polipharmacy with antipsychotics (AP) in a group of patients with schizophrenia discharged from psychiatric unit. Pharmacological therapy of 131 patients from 6 psychiatric units in Poland was examined.
Monotherapy received 69 (52,7%) patients, 56 (42,8%) were discharged on two and 6 (4,6%) on three AP’s. Second generation AP were prescribed more frequently (84%) than first generation AP (16%). Olanzapine was most widely used AP. Combination of two second generation AP was as common as concomitant use of second and first generation AP. Patients who were on two AP had more previous hospitalizations. When all psychotropics were taken into account 55 patients (42%) received one, 48 (36,5%) two, 27 (20,5%) three, and 1 patient four psychotropic drugs. Relatively small proportion of patients were receiving benzodiazepins/hypnotics (n = 11,8%) and anticholinergic drugs (n = 12,9%).
Data collected from 6 psychiatric hospitals/departments in Poland revealed the rate of polipharmacy similar to observed in other European countries. Reasons for and the impact of the predominant use of polypharmacy require further study.