Pharmacotherapy of first episode psychosis in Estonia: Comparison with national and international treatment guidelines

J. Lass, A. Männik, J. S. Bell

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Background and objectives: The pharmacotherapy of psychosis often differs between countries and with respect to treatment guidelines. Little is known about the treatment of first episode psychosis in countries of the former Soviet Union. The objective of the study was to analyse and describe the pharmacotherapy of first episode psychosis in Estonia. Methods: Case notes for consecutive patients with schizophrenia, schizotypal or delusional disorders admitted to the psychiatry clinics of the North Estonia Regional Hospital (NERH) and Tartu University Hospital (TUH) between September 2005 and September 2006 were retrospectively reviewed by a trained researcher. Treatment regimens were assessed according to prescribed doses, the incidence of antipsychotic polypharmacy and prescribing of conventional vs. atypical agents. Results: There were 234 patients admitted to the NERH and TUH, 142 of which were included in the final analyses (mean age 30.3 years for males, 40.4 years for females). Patients were most frequently treated with risperidone (n = 94), olanzapine (n = 43), chlorpromazine (n = 31), haloperidol (n = 21) and quetiapine (n = 24). Fourteen patients received concurrent treatment with two or more antipsychotics for three or more treatment days. Nine patients received antipsychotics in doses exceeding the maximum recommended doses in the British National Formulary. Conclusions: The pharmacotherapy of first episode psychosis in Estonia was largely consistent with Estonian and international guidelines, however, the use of conventional antipsychotics and antipsychotic polypharmacy remained common. Estonian treatment guidelines may need to be revised to reflect the best available research evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-173
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Adherence to the treatment guidelines
  • Mental health
  • Pharmacotherapy

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