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Switching antipsychotic medication to aripiprazole: position paper by a panel of Italian psychiatrists

Author(s) :

Andrea Fagiolini, Roberto Brugnoli, Guido Di Sciascio, Sergio De Filippis & Giuseppe Maina

Abstract :

Introduction: Patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder treated with antipsychotic medication can frequently experience lack of efficacy and persistent side-effects, so much so that switching from one antipsychotic to another with a different side-effect profile has become a recommended strat- egy for improving the tolerability and safety of long-term antipsychotic treat- ment. Aripiprazole is an atypical antipsychotic with proven efficacy in schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder, with a pharmacological profile distinct from other available antipsychotics and a side-effect profile that is different from other agents in the class; these characteristics make it a possible alterna- tive in patients requiring a change in antipsychotic treatment due to lack of efficacy or persistent side-effects.

Areas covered: A panel of Italian experts in psychiatry met to discuss the appropriateness of current strategies for the switch to aripiprazole in patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder once a clinician has decided to adopt this choice and also to propose alternate strategies where required. The strat- egies for the switch to aripiprazole presented in this position paper consider various scenarios encountered in clinical practice, highlight the importance of tapering the prior antipsychotic based on its pharmacological characteris- tics and provide detailed guidance throughout the entire switching process. Literature searches were conducted using the PubMed database and the search strategy (aripiprazole and switching); additional references were added from the reference lists of the papers obtained and also from the authors’ knowledge of the topic.

Expert opinion: Few studies have addressed the indications for antipsychotic switching and the best practical strategies to achieve the desired goal in the clinical practice setting. Studies on antipsychotic switching should clarify why, when and how a switch should be done. The results should standardize the reasons for switching an antipsychotic, assess the optimal time to switch and evaluate the best ways to switch. Both clinical and pharmacological fac- tors should be considered when a patient needs to switch antipsychotics, and specific guidelines for antipsychotic switching that address all these factors are needed.

Expert Opin. Pharmacother. (2015) 16(5) - Source link

Collège Méditerranéen de Psychiatrie