We describe four elderly male inpatients with chronic schizophrenia successfully withdrawn from long-lasting antipsychotic treatment. Then we review studies in which antipsychotics were discontinued in patients 65 y.o. (or at least 50 on the average) or older using PubMed (last search; August 2014). The average (±S.D.) age, duration of illness and total duration of hospitalization of the patients were 77.0±8.6 y.o., 46.0±26.9 years, and 41.0±27.3 years, respectively. Illness severity as assessed with the Clinical Global Impression (CGI)-Severity was five for three patients and six for the other. After withdrawal from antipsychotic treatment for 28.3±11.4 weeks, none showed appreciable changes in psychopathology, functioning as well as adverse effects and the resultant CGI-Improvement was four for all patients. Compared with those who needed continuous antipsychotic treatment in the same unit (n=51; mean±S.D. age: 56.0±12.1 y.o.), they were significantly older and treated with a fewer number of total psychotropics at baseline (1.50±1.00 versus 4.94±1.93 agents). A literature search failed to find any studies in which antipsychotics were discontinued exclusively in patients with schizophrenia 65 years or older and underscored a clear paucity of data on this important topic. Cessation of chronic antipsychotic treatment could be a viable option at least in some patients with geriatric schizophrenia although more systematic studies are necessary.
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