Sex differences in use of psychotropic drugs and drug-induced side effects in schizophrenia patients: findings of the Research on Asia Psychotropic Prescription (REAP) studies

Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2011 Mar;45(3):193-8. doi: 10.3109/00048674.2010.538839. Epub 2010 Dec 13.


Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the sex differences in prescribing patterns of psychotropic drugs and drug-induced side effects in schizophrenia patients in Asia using the data of the Research on Asian Psychotropic Prescription Pattern (REAP) surveys.

Method: The prescription patterns of 6,441 schizophrenia inpatients in six Asian countries and regions were investigated during the 2001-2009 period. The patients' socio-demographic and clinical characteristics and their prescriptions for psychotropic drugs were recorded using a standardized protocol and data collection procedure.

Results: Univariate analyses found the following factors to be significantly associated with the male sex: a younger age, higher doses of antipsychotics, less prominent delusions and hallucinations, more prominent negative symptoms, less likelihood of a prescription for second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs), greater use of antipsychotic polypharmacy, mood stabilizers and depot antipsychotics, more frequent tardive dyskinesia (TD), and less weight gain. In multivariate analyses, fewer prescriptions for SGAs, greater use of mood stabilizers, anticholinergics, antipsychotic polypharmacy and depot antipsychotics, extrapyramidal side effects (EPS) and TD, and less weight gain were independently associated with the male sex.

Conclusions: Sex is one of the independent contributors to psychotropic prescription and side effects in Asian schizophrenia patients. Psychopharmacological treatment guidelines for schizophrenia should consider the sexes separately.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Asia
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Antipsychotic Agents