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Original Research

The Texas Medication Algorithm Project Antipsychotic Algorithm for Schizophrenia: 2003 Update

Alexander L. Miller, MD; Catherine S. Hall, PharmD; Robert W. Buchanan, MD; Peter F. Buckley, MD; John A. Chiles, MD; Robert R. Conley, MD; M. Lynn Crismon, PharmD; Larry Ereshefsky, PharmD; Susan M. Essock, PhD; Molly Finnerty, MD; Stephen R. Marder, MD; Del D. Miller, MD, PharmD; Joseph P. McEvoy, MD; A. John Rush, MD; Sy A. Saeed, MD; Nina R. Schooler, PhD; Steven P. Shon, MD; Scott Stroup, MD; and Bernardo Tarin-Godoy, MD

Published: April 1, 2004

Article Abstract

Background: The Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP) has been a public-academic collaboration in which guidelines for medication treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder were used in selected public outpatient clinics in Texas. Subsequently, these algorithms were implemented throughout Texas and are being used in other states. Guidelines require updating when significant new evidence emerges; the antipsychotic algorithm for schizophrenia was last updated in 1999. This article reports the recommendations developed in 2002 and 2003 by a group of experts, clinicians, and administrators.

Method: A conference in January 2002 began the update process. Before the conference, experts in the pharmacologic treatment of schizophrenia, clinicians, and administrators reviewed literature topics and prepared presentations. Topics included ziprasidone’s inclusion in the algorithm, the number of antipsychotics tried before clozapine, and the role of first generation antipsychotics. Data were rated according to Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality criteria. After discussing the presentations, conference attendees arrived at consensus recommendations. Consideration of aripiprazole’s inclusion was subsequently handled by electronic communications.

Results: The antipsychotic algorithm for schizophrenia was updated to include ziprasidone and aripiprazole among the first-line agents. Relative to the prior algorithm, the number of stages before clozapine was reduced. First generation antipsychotics were included but not as first-line choices. For patients refusing or not responding to clozapine and clozapine augmentation, preference was given to trying monotherapy with another antipsychotic before resorting to antipsychotic combinations.

Conclusion: Consensus on algorithm revisions was achieved, but only further well-controlled research will answer many key questions about sequence and type of medication treatments of schizophrenia.

Volume: 65

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