Switching atypical antipsychotics: A review

Pierre Chue, Emmanuel Stip, Gary Remington, Lili Kopala

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Atypical antipsychotics are increasingly used in the treatment of diverse psychiatric disorders; however, there is little information on the 'why, when, and how' of switching between the different atypical antipsychotics currently available. Objective: To review the data on switching and atypical antipsychotics. Methods: A literature search was initially conducted using the key words followed by a search of relevant articles including conference abstracts; relevant pharmaceutical companies were also contacted. Results: Clinical trial data are limited in terms of parameters measured, and case reports describe specific problems. Few studies are based on real world populations of psychiatric patients over the long-term. Careful patient and drug selections matched to a carefully supervised and appropriate cross titration based upon the pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties of all of the drugs involved is important to avoid potential complications such as re-emergence or worsening of psychosis and withdrawal, rebound, and emergent phenomena including new or uncovered side-effects. Psychoeducation and involvement of patients and caregivers in the process are also necessary for a successful switch. Conclusion: Despite the prevalence of switching in real world clinical practice, there is a paucity of data to guide clinicians with respect to effective and safe strategies. There are no criteria defining a successful switch. With the increasing range and formulations of atypical antipsychotics available, there is a rationale for their early use to avoid the practical problems associated with switching from conventional antipsychotics as well as the opportunity to maintain patients on an optimal atypical antipsychotic monotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-313
Number of pages13
JournalActa Neuropsychiatrica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Amisulpride
  • Atypical antipsychotics
  • Clozapine
  • Olanzapine
  • Quetiapine
  • Ripiprazole
  • Risperidone
  • Schizophrenia
  • Switching
  • Ziprasidone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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