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Perm J. 2011 Spring;15(2):52-6.

Reducing antipsychotic polypharmacy among psychogeriatric and adult patients with chronic schizophrenia.

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Department of General Psychiatry at the Instituteof Mental Health/Woodbridge Hospital in Singapore.



At the Institute of Mental Health/Woodbridge Hospital, 55% of the long-stay patients are on more than two antipsychotics for treatment of chronic schizophrenia. Our aim was to reduce antipsychotic polypharmacy (APP) among chronic schizophrenia inpatients at the long-term wards at the Institute of Mental Health, Singapore from 2006 to 2008.


Using Clinical Practice Improvement Program (CPIP) methodology and using a Plan, Do, Study, Act approach, we surveyed patients, physicians, and nurses for responses regarding reducing the amount of APP for psychiatric patients. The first CPIP (CPIP1) was conducted from August 2006 to January 2007, and focused on psychogeriatric chronic schizophrenia inpatients. This methodology was spread to a second CPIP (CPIP2) from April 2008 to October 2008, which focused on adult chronic schizophrenia inpatients.


Both CPIPs were successful in the reduction of APP within the geriatric and adult long-term patients. For CPIP1, eight patients had their antipsychotics reduced. There was a reduction of an average chlorpromazine-equivalent dose per day from 375 mg per patient to 170 mg. For CPIP2, the average number of antipsychotics was reduced from 2.9 to 2.27 from July 2008 to October 2008. There was a reduction of an average chlorpromazine-equivalent dose per day from 1523 mg per patient to 1246 mg. There was no documented relapse within six months of implementation of both the projects.


APP in long-term patients suffering from chronic schizophrenia can be safely reduced with proper clinical titration, aided by guidelines and protocols.

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