Recommendation ID
The physical health benefits of discontinuing antipsychotic medication:- What are the short- and long-term benefits to physical health of guided medication discontinuation and/or reduction in first episode psychosis and can this be achieved without major risks?
Any explanatory notes
(if applicable)
Why this is important:- There is growing concern about the long-term health risks, increased mortality and cortical grey matter loss linked to cumulative neuroleptic exposure in people with psychosis. The majority of young adults discontinue their medication in an unplanned way because of these risks. A Dutch moderately-sized open trial has reported successful discontinuation of medication in 20% of people without serious relapse; at 7-year follow-up there was continuous benefit for guided reduction in terms of side effects, functioning and employment, with no long-term risks. If replicated, this would mark a significant breakthrough in reducing the long-term physical health risks associated with antipsychotic treatment and improving outcomes.
The programme of research should use an adequately powered, multicentre, double-blind, randomised controlled design to test the physical health benefits, risks and costs of discontinuing or reducing antipsychotic medication among young adults with first episode psychosis who have achieved remission. The primary outcomes should be quality of life and metabolic disorder, including weight gain; secondary outcomes should include side effects, serious relapse, acceptability and user preference.

Source guidance details

Comes from guidance
Psychosis and schizophrenia in adults: prevention and management
Date issued
February 2014

Other details

Is this a recommendation for the use of a technology only in the context of research? No  
Is it a recommendation that suggests collection of data or the establishment of a register?   No  
Last Reviewed 13/03/2014