The present study was conducted primarily to determine the occurrence of polypharmacy in patients with schizophrenia on risperidone. The secondary aim was to ascertain the incidence of inappropriate prescribing with anticholinergics. A retrospective review of the medical records of all patients who were being followed up at the out-patient clinic of a tertiary-care hospital in Malaysia was conducted. Only patients who were being prescribed risperidone between 1 June 2008 and 31 December 2008 were included in the study. Demographic data such as patient's age, gender and race were obtained from the patient's medical records. In total, 113 patients met the selection criteria. Polypharmacy was found to occur in 34 patients (30.09%), with the majority (76.47%) being on two antipsychotics. In total, 27 patients (34.18%) on monotherapy with risperidone were prescribed an anticholinergic on scheduled dosing, while 19 patients (24.05%) were prescribed it on an as-needed basis. Of the patients on polypharmacy, 26 (76.47%) were on scheduled dosing of anticholinergics, while three (8.82%) were taking the medication on an as-needed basis. Polypharmacy should be avoided, and the use of anticholinergics should be closely reviewed. By adopting more efficient prescribing practices, costs can be reduced and financial resources can instead be channelled towards more beneficial areas for the patients.
Keywords: anticholinergic; antipsychotic; polypharmacy; risperidone; schizophrenia.