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Keywords:

  • drug policy;
  • market withdrawal;
  • thioridazine;
  • psychotic relapses;
  • pharmacoepidemiology

ABSTRACT

Objective

Thioridazine is a first-generation antipsychotic drug that was withdrawn from the market worldwide in 2005. The outcome of clinically stable schizophrenia patients who used thioridazine before market withdrawal was evaluated.

Methods

Nationwide registers in Finland were utilized to study thioridazine use, hospitalization rate and length of hospital stay.

Results

Although thioridazine use continued to diminish year after year, the hospitalization rate remained constant until the withdrawal year of 2005, when the percentage of patients hospitalized for schizophrenia doubled.

Conclusion

The market withdrawal of thioridazine predisposed many stable patients towards psychotic relapses. In order to minimize this kind of risk, an overall risk–benefit assessment and a clear-cut plan for the replacement of an antipsychotic should be established before market withdrawal. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.