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Schizophr Bull. 2013 Nov;39(6):1187-8. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbt140. Epub 2013 Sep 26.

Fluphenazine (oral) versus placebo for schizophrenia.

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*To whom correspondence should be addressed; Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Northern General Hospital, Herries Road, Sheffield S5 7AU, UK; tel: +44-782-669-2764, e-mail:


Fluphenazine, a phenothiazine derivative, was one of the first drugs to be classed as an "antipsychotic" and was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1959. In Britain, it was first used for the relief of anxiety. The American reports, however, were the first to indicate its value in psychotic illness. Fluphenazine is an inexpensive and widely accessible antipsychotic drug that has been available to treat people with schizophrenia for five decades. We updated our original search (from September 2006) using The Cochrane Schizophrenia Group Trials register (May 2012); we found no new relevant studies. Seven randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included with a total of N = 439 participants. Results, based on this small selection of studies, suggested that there was no significant difference between oral fluphenazine and placebo for most outcomes, including global state and leaving the study early. Results did suggest a statistically significant effect favoring oral fluphenazine in the short term for levels of relapse (n = 38, 1 RCT, RR 0.25 CI 0.06-1.03) with levels of extrapyramidal adverse effects more frequent with oral fluphenazine. The findings in this review confirm much that clinicians and recipients of care already know, but they provide quantification to support clinical impression. In this review, for perhaps the first time, we objectively quantified the effects of oral administration of fluphenazine in comparison with placebo. It is indeed a potent antipsychotic but with considerable adverse effects. Other drugs may well be preferable.


meta- analysis; oral fluphenazine; schizophrenia; systematic review

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