Background: We updated our previous systematic review regarding clinical guidelines and algorithms on antipsychotic treatment in the maintenance phase of schizophrenia (doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2011.11.021) to incorporate and synthesize more recent findings to guide clinical practice.
Methods: We conducted a systematic literature search to identify clinical guidelines and algorithms describing antipsychotic treatment in the maintenance phase of schizophrenia using MEDLINE and Embase. We assessed overall quality of the guidelines/algorithms according to the AGREE II instrument and extracted information on treatment recommendations.
Results: We identified 20 guidelines/algorithms from various regions, including 11 updated or newly launched ones after the previous systematic review in 2012. All of the guidelines/algorithms satisfied a certain level of quality. Where mentioned, endorsements were sorted into "recommended", "partially recommended", or "not recommended". As for antipsychotic discontinuation strategy, a majority of guidelines/algorithms that mentioned this strategy did not recommend it for multiple-episode schizophrenia (N = 5/6). On the other hand, the guidelines/algorithms tended to shift from "not recommended" to "partially recommended" both for schizophrenia in general (N = 7/13, N = 7/8 for those published after 2013) and first-episode schizophrenia (N = 10/11, N = 7/7 for those published after 2013) regarding this strategy. All guidelines/algorithms (N = 9/9) converged to discourage antipsychotic intermittent/targeted strategy. Similar to antipsychotic discontinuation strategy, all of the updated or new guidelines/algorithms (N = 6/6) endorsed antipsychotic dose reduction/lower dose strategy.
Conclusion: Recent clinical guidelines and algorithms on antipsychotic maintenance treatment in schizophrenia shifted more toward a possibility of antipsychotic discontinuation and dose reduction/lower dose strategies. Nonetheless, clinicians need to contemplate on the risk-benefit balance of these strategies for individual patients.
Keywords: Algorithms; Antipsychotics; Guidelines; Maintenance; Schizophrenia.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.