Antipsychotic prescribing trends: a review of pharmaco-epidemiological studies

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2010 Jan;121(1):4-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2009.01425.x. Epub 2009 Jun 25.


Objective: To review findings from pharmaco-epidemiological studies exploring antipsychotic (AP) drugs prescribing trends.

Method: We retrieved original studies that explored AP prescribing trends in general population samples since 2000. For each study, we extracted information on sampling method, period, assessment of AP use and corresponding estimates (incidence rates, prevalence rates, pharmacy sales, prescription data) and diagnostic assessment.

Results: Nearly all studies meeting the inclusion criteria (n = 17) showed an increase in AP prescriptions, mainly because of a dramatic rise in second-generation antipsychotics (SGAP) prescriptions. APs are often prescribed for non-psychotic disorders in adults as well as in children and adolescents.

Conclusion: Considering the growing number of persons from the general population exposed to APs, population studies assessing the risk/benefit ratio of SGAP use in disorders other than psychosis are necessary, particularly in children and adolescents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Drug Discovery / trends
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Utilization / trends
  • Humans
  • MEDLINE / statistics & numerical data
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy
  • Off-Label Use / statistics & numerical data
  • Pharmacoepidemiology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pharmacoepidemiology / trends
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends


  • Antipsychotic Agents