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Niger Postgrad Med J. 2020 Jan-Mar;27(1):30-36. doi: 10.4103/npmj.npmj_93_19.

Antipsychotic prescription and polypharmacy among outpatients with schizophrenia in a Nigerian hospital.

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Department of Clinical Services, Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Benin-City, Nigeria.



International guidelines recommend antipsychotic monotherapy as the ideal treatment option in pharmacotherapy for schizophrenia, though this yields modest outcomes in a third of patients. Antipsychotic polypharmacy (APP) has been tried in many patients with schizophrenia to improve outcomes in those with poor treatment response.


This study examined the pattern of antipsychotic prescription and polypharmacy among outpatient attendees with schizophrenia in a Nigerian psychiatric hospital.


A cross-sectional study of 320 attendees with schizophrenia at the consultant outpatient department was undertaken. We administered a socio-demographic questionnaire, antipsychotic medication and health questionnaire to record the general health indices and the prescribed antipsychotic medication of participants and the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) Version 6.0 (psychosis module).


Oral second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) monotherapy was most commonly prescribed. The prevalence of APP was 50.9%. Participants on simultaneous anticholinergic agents (P < 0.001), a twice-daily antipsychotic dosing interval (P < 0.001,) alcohol use (P = 0.02), antidepressant use (P = 0.02) and a current episode of schizophrenia on the MINI (P < 0.001) were more likely to be on an APP regimen.


Although a preference for SGA monotherapy was observed, the prevalence of APP remained high. Clinicians, therefore, should be cautious regarding the clinical utility of APP and discourage its persistent use.


Antipsychotics; Nigeria; polypharmacy; prescription; schizophrenia

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