Differences In Antipsychotic Medication Prescribing Patterns Between Rural And Urban Prescribers

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2006
Project completed:
October 2008
Second-generation ("atypical") antipsychotics have become the treatment of choice for persons with schizophrenia and other serious mental illnesses. Compared to first generation ("conventional") antipsychotics, many second generation medications reduce symptoms with fewer problematic side-effects (with the exception of clozapine, which can have life-threatening side effects if not monitored regularly) and related major health problems (e.g., obesity, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia). Introduction of atypical antipsychotics has impacted 1) prescribing patterns across physician specialties, 2) type of drug prescribed (i.e., first or second generation antipsychotics) based on case-mix factors, such as age, race, and type of insurance coverage and 3) medication and/or total treatment costs. It has also facilitated significant discussion of the therapeutic value of "polypharmacy," meaning, the simultaneous prescription of more than one antipsychotic medication to a single patient. However, one aspect that has seen little empirical attention is how longitudinal trends, benefits, and costs may differ between urban and rural areas.