Persistence of Antipsychotic Use After Clozapine Discontinuation: A Real-World Study Across Antipsychotics

Noraly Stam, Heidi Taipale, Antti Tanskanen, Luka Isphording, Cynthia Okhuijsen-Pfeifer, Catharina C. M. Schuiling-Veninga, Jens H. J. Bos, Bert J. Bijker, Jari Tiihonen, Jurjen J. Luykx*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


Although clozapine treatment is often discontinued due to limited efficacy or low tolerability, there is a lack of guidelines and evidence on treatment options after discontinuation of clozapine in patients with schizophrenia. Persistence has proven to be an adequate indicator for treatment effectiveness in patients with schizophrenia. The aim of this study was, therefore, to compare persistence of antipsychotic use between antipsychotic treatment options in patients after stopping clozapine treatment. Registry data from a prescription database representative of the Dutch population (1996-2017) was collected to investigate persistence in patients with schizophrenia who had been using clozapine for >= 90 days. Persistence with antipsychotics after clozapine discontinuation was analyzed using Cox-proportional hazard regression models. Our study population consisted of 321 participants, of whom 138 re-initiated clozapine and 183 started some other antipsychotic in the year after clozapine discontinuation (N = 518 antipsychotic use periods, N = 9,178 months). Second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) as a group were associated with better persistence compared to first-generation antipsychotics (adjusted hazard ratio (aHR), 0.73; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.57-0.93; P = 0.011). Compared with other antipsychotics, the following oral monotherapy antipsychotics were associated with significantly better persistence: restarting clozapine (aHR 0.48; 95% CI 0.32-0.71; P <0.001) and switching to risperidone (aHR 0.52; 95% CI 0.32-0.84; P = 0.008) or olanzapine (aHR 0.55; 95% CI 0.35-0.87; P = 0.010). Sensitivity analyses confirmed the results. In conclusion, oral SGAs are associated with better persistence than alternative antipsychotic treatment options in patients discontinuing clozapine for undefined reasons. Especially clozapine (except in those with previous serious adverse reactions to clozapine), olanzapine and risperidone should be considered as oral monotherapy for these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1170-1177
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and translational science
Issue number6
Early online date22-May-2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2020



Cite this