Prevalence, correlates, and disease patterns of antipsychotic use in Taiwan


*I-Chia Chien, MD, PhD, Jianan Mental Hospital, Department of Health, No. 80, Lane 870, Jhongshan Road, Rende Township, Tainan County 71742, Taiwan. Email:


Aim:  The population-based National Health Insurance database was used to investigate the prevalence, correlates, and disease patterns of antipsychotic use in Taiwan.

Methods:  The National Health Research Institutes provided a database of 200 000 random subjects for study. A random sample of 145 304 subjects was obtained, aged ≥18 years in 2004. Study subjects who had been given at least two antipsychotic drug prescriptions during this year were identified. The factors associated with any antipsychotic use were identified. The proportion of antipsychotic use for psychiatric and non-psychiatric disorders was also examined.

Results:  The 1-year prevalence of antipsychotic use was 3.5%. Antipsychotic use was found to be more prevalent by age; for women; for individuals with a lower insurance amount; for individuals with disability; and among those subjects who lived in the central or southern area. Among subjects with antipsychotic use, higher proportions of psychiatric disorders were found for schizophrenia, anxiety state, major depressive disorder, neurotic depression, dementia, and bipolar disorder. With respect to medical disorder, higher proportions of antipsychotic use were found for diseases of the digestive system; symptoms, signs, and ill-defined conditions; diseases of the respiratory system, musculoskeletal system and connective tissue, circulatory system, nervous system and sense organs, and genitourinary system.

Conclusions:  Higher proportions of antipsychotic use were found for schizophrenia, depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, dementia, and bipolar disorder. More than 60% of subjects used antipsychotics for non-psychiatric disorders in Taiwan, which deserves further study for the sake of patient safety.