Antipsychotics: A Focus on Indications, Monitoring, and Counseling- Pharmacist


  Credits  1.5

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Antipsychotic therapy improves the lives of millions with severe and persistent mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In recent years, FDA-approved use has expanded to other indications including depression and autism spectrum disorder. There has also been an explosion of off-label (unapproved) use as varied as behavioral problems and anxiety. Antipsychotics are classified as either first-generation (FGA, "typical", or conventional) or second generation (SGA or "atypical"). The SGAs are among the top 5 therapeutic classes undergoing significant growth in medication spending. Aripiprazole (Abilify®) and quetiapine (Seroquel®) rank among the top 10 prescription drugs in terms of sales. The use of the older FGAs has declined, while the use of SGAs increased nearly 6-fold from 1995 to 2008 among both adults and children. Factors contributing to this increase include expanded indications beyond schizophrenia and better tolerability of SGAs. Aggressive marketing of SGAs, including direct-to-consumer advertising and illegal promotion, also may have contributed to the increase in use. The number of physician office visits at which antipsychotics were prescribed off-label almost doubled between 1995 and 2008. Concerns have been raised about off-label uses that lack sufficient evidence for efficacy and safety. This issue summarizes the current evidence for FDA-approved antipsychotic indications (see Table 1.) as well as nonapproved uses - with a focus on comparative safety and tolerability among the agents. The supplement to this issue addresses the history of antipsychotic use, important antipsychotic interactions, and the SGA clozapine. Additional CE credit is available for the supplement. Understanding the benefits and risks of antipsychotic use, especially in vulnerable patient populations such as children and elders, is critical for providing quality healthcare. Community practitioners can take an active role in working with patients and caregivers to ensure that antipsychotics are used for appropriate indications, and to provide them with recommended monitoring and education to improve safety.


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Course Information

Target Audience

Pharm/Nurse Drug Therapy

Knowledge Level

General Overview

This activity will apply to a broad range of learning needs/pharmacy settings. It may include common disease state/therapy overivews and/or general pharmacy needs such as medication errors, immunizations, or law topics.

Learning Objectives

Course Accreditation

  • Activity Type:
  • CE Broker
  • Universal Activity Number:
    Pharmacist : 0428-0000-13-009-H01-P
PharmCon is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.

PharmCon, Inc. is an approved course provider for continuing education for nurses by the Florida Board of Nursing. PharmCon is also recognized by the California Board of Nursing as a provider of nursing programs.

In order to obtain a Statement of Credit, attendees must answer poll questions where presented and complete a program evaluation. Attendees may immediately print their Statement of Credit or leave them stored on the website.

Technology Requirements

  • Hardware Requirements
    Standard Windows/Mac System
    iPad or iPhone
    Minimum screen resolution: 1024x768
    Speakers or headphones
  • Software Requirements
    Standard Windows/Mac System
    iPad or iPhone
    Minimum screen resolution: 1024x768
    Speakers or headphones
  • Network Requirements
    Broadband Internet Connection:
    T1, Hi-speed DSL or Cable
    4G cellular connection
Computer sharing is NOT permitted due to accreditation guidelines on activity monitoring. Credit is earned by one user per device.