Immediate versus wait-and-gradual discontinuation in antipsychotic switching: A meta-analysis

Hiroyoshi Takeuchi, Gary Remington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: In two previous meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examining antipsychotic switching strategies in patients with schizophrenia, we showed no significant differences in any clinical outcomes between immediate versus gradual and gradual versus wait-and-gradual discontinuation of the pre-switch antipsychotic. In this report, we compared immediate versus wait-and-gradual antipsychotic discontinuation. Methods: We identified five RCTs examining immediate versus wait-and-gradual discontinuation of the pre-switch antipsychotic in antipsychotic switching involving patients with schizophrenia. However, no data were available from one RCT. The following clinical outcome data were extracted and meta-analyzed: study discontinuation, psychopathology, extrapyramidal symptoms, and treatment-emergent adverse events that were reported in two or more of the studies. Results: The meta-analysis included four RCTs involving 351 patients (n=175 for immediate and n=176 for wait-and-gradual antipsychotic discontinuation). A significant difference was found in study discontinuation due to all causes (n=4, n=351, risk ratio=1.58, 95% confidence interval 1.15–2.17, p=0.005, I2=0%) between the immediate and wait-and-gradual antipsychotic discontinuation groups, while there was no significant difference in any other clinical outcomes. The group difference in study discontinuation due to all causes remained significant for the studies adopting immediate antipsychotic initiation but not for the studies switching to ziprasidone. Conclusion: Findings suggest that wait-and-gradual antipsychotic discontinuation may be preferable when a more cautious antipsychotic switch is needed. However, further long-term, double-blind RCTs are needed to confirm the present findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)914-919
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug 1


  • Antipsychotics
  • discontinuation
  • schizophrenia
  • switching strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Immediate versus wait-and-gradual discontinuation in antipsychotic switching: A meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this