Efficacy of atypical v. typical antipsychotics in the treatment of early psychosis: meta-analysis

The British Journal of Psychiatry : the Journal of Mental Science
Nicolas A CrossleyPaddy Power


There is an ongoing debate about the use of atypical antipsychotics as a first-line treatment for first-episode psychosis. To examine the evidence base for this recommendation. Meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials in the early phase of psychosis, looking at long-term discontinuation rates, short-term symptom changes, weight gain and extrapyramidal side-effects. Trials were identified using a combination of electronic (Cochrane Central, EMBASE, MEDLINE and PsycINFO) and manual searches. Fifteen randomised controlled trials with a total of 2522 participants were included. No significant differences between atypical and typical drugs were found for discontinuation rates (odds ratio (OR) = 0.7, 95% CI 0.4 to 1.2) or effect on symptoms (standardised mean difference (SMD) = -0.1, 95% CI -0.2 to 0.02). Participants on atypical antipsychotics gained 2.1 kg (95% CI 0.1 to 4.1) more weight than those on typicals, whereas those on typicals experienced more extrapyramidal side-effects (SMD = -0.4, 95% CI -0.5 to -0.2). There was no evidence for differences in efficacy between atypical and typical antipsychotics, but there was a clear difference in the side-effect profile.


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