Objective: There are only a few treatment algorithms for first-episode schizophrenia. Moreover, all the algorithms apply to acute treatment, but not maintenance treatment. Therefore, we aimed to develop acute and maintenance treatment algorithms for first-episode schizophrenia. Methods: The algorithm committee of the Japanese Society of Clinical Neuropsychopharmacology developed pharmacological treatment algorithms for the acute phase, agitation, and maintenance phase of first-episode schizophrenia. Results: The acute treatment algorithm focuses on drug-naïve patients with first-episode schizophrenia who are not old or very agitated and recommends first-line treatment with aripiprazole, second- or third-line treatment with risperidone/paliperidone or olanzapine, and fourth-line treatment with clozapine. Long-acting injection of the current antipsychotic agent can be used for poor medication adherence or based on patient preference. The agitation treatment algorithm recommends first-line treatment with lorazepam and second- or third-line treatment with quetiapine or levomepromazine and clearly instructs that the medication used for agitation should be reduced and then discontinued after remission of agitation. The maintenance treatment algorithm recommends the gradual reduction of antipsychotics to the minimum effective dose after remission of positive symptoms. Conclusions: We hope that our unique algorithms will be used broadly and will contribute to minimizing patients' burden related to antipsychotic treatment.
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