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Community Ment Health J. 2018 Nov;54(8):1097-1100. doi: 10.1007/s10597-018-0313-1. Epub 2018 Aug 3.

Five Year Outcomes of Tapering Antipsychotic Drug Doses in a Community Mental Health Center.

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Howard Center, University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine, 300 Flynn Avenue, Burlington, VT, 05401, USA.


There is evidence that many individuals are on higher doses of antipsychotic drug than is required for optimal functioning yet there are limited guidelines on how to reduce them. This paper reports on 5 year outcomes for sixty-seven individuals who received treatment at a community mental health center and were offered the opportunity to gradually reduce their doses of antipsychotic drug in collaboration with the treating psychiatrist. Over a period of 6 months, the author invited patients who were clinically stable and able to participate in discussions of potential risks and benefits to begin gradual dose reductions. Initially, 40 expressed interest in tapering and 27 declined. The groups did not differ in age, sex, race, or diagnosis. The group who chose to taper began on significantly lower doses. Most patients succeeded at making modest dose reductions. At 5 years, there were no significant differences in the two outcomes measures, rate of hospitalization and employment status. Many patients were able to engage in these discussions which did not result in widespread discontinuation of drug. This is a naturalistic, small study of a topic that warrants further research.


Antipsychotics; Discontinuation; Psychosis; Schizophrenia; Tapering


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