Psychotropic medication use among adults with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder in the United States

T. Scott Stroup, Tobias Gerhard, Stephen Crystal, Cecilia Huang, Zhiqiang Tan, Melanie M. Wall, Chacku M. Mathai, Mark Olfson

Publication Date: 05/01/2018

Objective: The authors examined the use of different classes of psychotropic medication in outpatient treatment of schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. Methods: Data from the United States Medicaid program were used to examine psychotropic medication use in a cohort of patients who had a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder in the calendar year 2010. Results: The cohort of Medicaid recipients who filled one or more prescriptions for a psychotropic medication in 2010 included 116,249 patients classified as having schizophrenia and 84,537 classified as having schizoaffective disorder. During 2010, 86.1% of patients with schizoaffective disorder and 70.1% with schizophrenia were treated with two or more different classes of psychotropic. Conclusions: Psychotropic medications other than antipsychotics were commonly prescribed for individuals with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Their widespread use and uncertainty about their net benefits signal a need for research on their efficacy, safety, and appropriate use in these conditions.