The case against antipsychotic drugs: a 50-year record of doing more harm than good

Med Hypotheses. 2004;62(1):5-13. doi: 10.1016/s0306-9877(03)00293-7.


Although the standard of care in developed countries is to maintain schizophrenia patients on neuroleptics, this practice is not supported by the 50-year research record for the drugs. A critical review reveals that this paradigm of care worsens long-term outcomes, at least in the aggregate, and that 40% or more of all schizophrenia patients would fare better if they were not so medicated. Evidence-based care would require the selective use of antipsychotics, based on two principles: (a). no immediate neuroleptisation of first-episode patients; (b). every patient stabilized on neuroleptics should be given an opportunity to gradually withdraw from them. This model would dramatically increase recovery rates and decrease the percentage of patients who become chronically ill.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / chemically induced
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Treatment Failure*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antipsychotic Agents