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Safety, tolerability, and risks associated with first- and second-generation antipsychotics: a state-of-the-art clinical review

Authors Solmi M, Murru A, Pacchiarotti I, Undurraga J, Veronese N, Fornaro M, Stubbs B, Monaco F, Vieta E, Seeman MV, Correll CU, Carvalho AF

Received 11 March 2017

Accepted for publication 27 April 2017

Published 29 June 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 757—777


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Garry Walsh

Marco Solmi,1,2 Andrea Murru,3 Isabella Pacchiarotti,3 Juan Undurraga,4,5 Nicola Veronese,2,6 Michele Fornaro,7,8 Brendon Stubbs,2,9–11 Francesco Monaco,2 Eduard Vieta,3 Mary V Seeman,12 Christoph U Correll,13,14 André F Carvalho2,15

1Neuroscience Department, University of Padua, 2Institute for Clinical Research and Education in Medicine, Padua, Italy; 3Bipolar Disorders Unit, Institute of Neuroscience, Hospital Clínic, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain; 4Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Clínica Alemana Universidad del Desarrollo, 5Early Intervention Program, J. Horwitz Psychiatric Institute, Santiago, Chile; 6National Research Council, Ageing Section, Padua, 7Laboratory of Molecular and Translational Psychiatry, Department of Neuroscience, School of Medicine, University “Federico II”, Naples, Italy; 8New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA; 9Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, 10Physiotherapy Department, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, 11Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, UK; 12Institute of Medical Science, Toronto, ON, Canada; 13Department of Psychiatry Research, Zucker Hillside Hospital, Northwell Health, Glen Oaks, 14Department of Psychiatry and Molecular Medicine Hempstead, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, Hempstead, NY, USA; 15Translational Psychiatry Research Group and Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil

Abstract: Since the discovery of chlorpromazine (CPZ) in 1952, first-generation antipsychotics (FGAs) have revolutionized psychiatric care in terms of facilitating discharge from hospital and enabling large numbers of patients with severe mental illness (SMI) to be treated in the community. Second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) ushered in a progressive shift from the paternalistic management of SMI symptoms to a patient-centered approach, which emphasized targets important to patients – psychosocial functioning, quality of life, and recovery. These drugs are no longer limited to specific Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) categories. Evidence indicates that SGAs show an improved safety and tolerability profile compared with FGAs. The incidence of treatment-emergent extrapyramidal side effects is lower, and there is less impairment of cognitive function and treatment-related negative symptoms. However, treatment with SGAs has been associated with a wide range of untoward effects, among which treatment-emergent weight gain and metabolic abnormalities are of notable concern. The present clinical review aims to summarize the safety and tolerability profile of selected FGAs and SGAs and to link treatment-related adverse effects to the pharmacodynamic profile of each drug. Evidence, predominantly derived from systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and clinical trials of the drugs amisulpride, aripiprazole, asenapine, brexpiprazole, cariprazine, clozapine, iloperidone, lurasidone, olanzapine, paliperidone, quetiapine, risperidone, sertindole, ziprasidone, CPZ, haloperidol, loxapine, and perphenazine, is summarized. In addition, the safety and tolerability profiles of antipsychotics are discussed in the context of the “behavioral toxicity” conceptual framework, which considers the longitudinal course and the clinical and therapeutic consequences of treatment-emergent side effects. In SMI, SGAs with safer metabolic profiles should ideally be prescribed first. However, alongside with safety, efficacy should also be considered on a patient-tailored basis.

antipsychotics, side effects, tolerability, safety, psychosis, psychiatry

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