The report of the joint WPA/CINP workgroup on the use and usefulness of antipsychotic medication in the treatment of schizophrenia

Konstantinos N. Fountoulakis, Hans Jurgen Moeller, Siegfried Kasper, Carol Tamminga, Shigeto Yamawaki, Rene Kahn, Rajiv Tandon, Christoph U. Correll, Afzal Javed

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This is a report of a joint WPA/CINP workgroup concerning the risk/benefit ratio of antipsychotics in the treatment of schizophrenia. It utilized a selective but, within topic, comprehensive review of the literature, taking into consideration all the recently discussed arguments on the matter and avoiding taking sides when the results in the literature were equivocal. The workgroup's conclusions suggested that antipsychotics are efficacious both during the acute and the maintenance phase, and that the current data do not support the existence of a supersensitivity rebound psychosis. Long-term treated patients have better overall outcome and lower mortality than those not taking antipsychotics. Longer duration of untreated psychosis and relapses are modestly related to worse outcome. Loss of brain volume is evident already at fu st episode and concerns loss of neuropil volume rather than cell loss. Progression of volume loss probably happens in a subgroup of patients with worse prognosis. In humans, antipsychotic treatment neither causes nor worsens volume loss, while there are some data in favor for a protective effect. Schizophrenia manifests 2-3 times higher mortality versus the general population and treatment with antipsychotics includes a number of dangers, including tardive dyskinesia and metabolic syndrome; however, antipsychotic treatment is related to lower mortality, including cardiovascular mortality. In conclusion, the literature strongly supports the use of antipsychotics both during the acute and the maintenance phase without suggesting that it is wise to discontinue I antipsychotics after a certain period of time. Antipsychotic treatment improves long-term outcomes and lowers overall and specific-cause mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCNS spectrums
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Antipsychotics
  • Outcome
  • Schizophrenia
  • Usefulness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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