Patterns and frequency of atypical antipsychotic prescribing in psychiatric medical centers: a cross-sectional national survey

Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2007 Aug;21(4):371-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-8206.2007.00492.x.


Studies describing atypical antipsychotics when compared with conventional antipsychotic drugs are few in France. This study aimed to describe the frequency and characteristics of atypical antipsychotic prescribing. A cross-sectional national survey was conducted from February to June 2003 in a random sample of 100 volunteer French psychiatrists practicing in public psychiatric medical centers. Each psychiatrist was asked to complete a questionnaire for patients to whom at least one antipsychotic was prescribed during the period of the survey. The characteristics of the patients treated with atypical antipsychotics were identified with a logistic regression model. A total of 1733 patients were included in the study. The main diagnoses were schizophrenia (46.1%) and other psychoses (40.8%), followed by mood disorders (10%) and other psychiatric disorders (2.5%). Among these patients, 56% had at least one prescription of an atypical antipsychotic, 42.1% at least one conventional antipsychotic with immediate action and 29.9% at least one conventional antipsychotic with delayed action. Seventy percent of patients were treated with single-drug atypical antipsychotics. Compared with conventional antipsychotics with immediate action, atypical antipsychotics were less likely to be prescribed to patients over 35 years of age [odds ratio (OR) 0.4; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.3-0.6], with duration of illness >10 years (OR 0.5; 95% CI 0.3-0.7), and were less likely to be used with concomitant corrector agents for neurological side effects (OR 0.4; 95% CI 0.3-0.6). This study shows the important use of atypical antipsychotic drugs especially in schizophrenic patients and younger patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Antipsychotic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Community Mental Health Centers
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • France
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychotic Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Antipsychotic Agents