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J Korean Med Sci. 2014 May;29(5):719-28. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2014.29.5.719. Epub 2014 Apr 25.

Patterns of antipsychotic prescription to patients with schizophrenia in Korea: results from the health insurance review & assessment service-national patient sample.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yong-In Mental Hospital, Yongin, Korea. ; Institute of Mental Health, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea.
Seoul Mental Health Center & Seoul Suicide Prevention Center, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, Gachon University, School of Medicine, Incheon, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, Inje University Ilsan Paik Hospital, Goyang, Korea.


This study aimed to analyze the patterns of antipsychotic prescription to patients with schizophrenia in Korea. Using the Health Insurance Review & Assessment Service-National Patients Sample (HIRA-NPS), which was a stratified sampling from the entire population under the Korean national health security system (2009), descriptive statistics for the patterns of the monopharmacy and polypharmacy, neuropsychiatric co-medications, and prescribed individual antipsychotic for patients with schizophrenia were performed. Comparisons of socioeconomic and clinical factors were performed among patients prescribed only with first- and second-generation antipsychotics. Of 126,961 patients with schizophrenia (age 18-80 yr), 13,369 were prescribed with antipsychotic monopharmacy and the rest 113,592 with polypharmacy. Two or more antipsychotics were prescribed to 31.34% of the patients. Antiparkinson medications (66.60%), anxiolytics (65.42%), mood stabilizers (36.74%), and antidepressants (25.90%) were co-medicated. Patients who were prescribed only with first-generation antipsychotics (n=26,254) were characterized by significantly older age, greater proportion of male, higher proportion of medicaid, higher total medical cost, lower self-payment cost, and higher co-medication rates of antiparkinson agents and anxiolytics than those who were prescribed only with second-generation antipsychotics (n=67,361). In this study, it has been reported substantial prescription rates of first-generation antipsychotics and antipsychotic polypharmacy and relatively small prescription rate of clozapine to patients with schizophrenia. Since this study has firstly presented the patterns of antipsychotic prescription to schizophrenic patients in Korean national population, the findings of this study can be compared with those of later investigations about this theme.


Antipsychotics; Korea; Prescribing Patterns; Schizophrenia

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