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Introduction: Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterised by delusions, disorganised thought and speech, hallucinations, blunted affect and reduced motivation among other clinical manifestations. Antipsychotic medications have demonstrated effectiveness in reducing symptoms and improvement in the quality of life of patients. In recent years emphasis has been shifting to using atypicals as first-line therapy primarily because of their ability to improve both positive and negative symptoms and reduced incidence of side effects. In Nigeria, there is paucity of data as to whether or not if this transition is taking place and to what extent.
Objectives: To determine the antipsychotic drugs prescription pattern, assess the extent of prescription of atypicals as well as determine level of co-prescribed medications.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional retrospective study carried out in Federal neuropsychiatric hospital, Maiduguri. The sample size of 360 was used [Taro Yamane formula] and medical records were sampled using systematic random sampling. Data were analyzed using SPSS 20 for descriptive statistics.
Results: There were more males [54.2%] and meant age was 36.5 ± 17.9 years. Typical antipsychotic drugs were the most prescribed accounting for 79.2% of all prescriptions. Trifluperazine was the most prescribed [56.1%] either alone or in combination, while Olanzapine and Risperidone accounted for about 20% of antipsychotic medications.
Discussion: The typicals may be cheaper and readily available but the prescribers are yet to change their habits despite evidence that atypicals are the first line recommendation. The result is a contrast to several studies in which atypicals is now extensively prescribed. Globally the use typicals declined over the last decade, and there is need to follow this trend.
Conclusion: The widespread prescription of typicals is not consistent with current recommendation, so there is need to switch to atypicals that have demonstrated better benefits to patients.