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Switching Antipsychotic Medications

Peter J. Weiden, M.D., Ralph Aquila, M.D., Laura Dalheim, M.D., and Janet M. Standard, R.N.

Published: November 1, 1997

Article Abstract

Compared with conventional antipsychotics, the so-called "atypical" antipsychotics promise improvedside effect profiles and better control of the symptoms of schizophrenia. Therefore, most patientscurrently taking conventional antipsychotics could potentially benefit from a switch to an atypicalantipsychotic. Often, the key issue in deciding whether to switch is the presence of countervailingfactors that mitigate against the change. This paper discusses the indications and contraindications forswitching antipsychotics, plus issues that require consideration before a switch is made. Also, the advantagesand disadvantages of various switching techniques are discussed, with a particular focus onthe newer antipsychotic olanzapine.

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Volume: 58

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