CNS Drugs

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 27–42 | Cite as

Switching Between Second-Generation Antipsychotics

Why and How?
  • Monika Edlinger
  • Susanne Baumgartner
  • Nadja Eltanaihi-Furtmüller
  • Martina Hummer
  • W. Wolfgang FleischhackerEmail author
Therapy in Practice


The introduction of second-generation antipsychotics represents an important advance in the treatment of schizophrenia. Although these drugs are generally very effective, not all patients respond in the same way. Partial response with persistent positive and negative symptoms and residual symptoms may force physicians to change antipsychotic medication. As more and more second-generation antipsychotics are introduced, the need for practical guidelines on switching these medications becomes increasingly important.

In this article we provide a short summary of the second-generation antipsychotics, focusing on efficacy, adverse effect profile and safety. Indications for switching antipsychotic medication are outlined, as well as recommendations when switching is disadvantageous. Three basic switching strategies (abrupt, gradual and overlapping switching) and their potential risks and benefits are described. We review the available evidence concerning techniques, problems and consequences when switching from one second-generation antipsychotic agent to another and discuss potential difficulties.


Clozapine Risperidone Olanzapine Quetiapine Negative Symptom 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Professor Fleischhacker has received research grants and honoraria from the following companies: AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Novartis, Organon, Otsuka, Pfizer, Sanofi-Synthelabo. Prof. Hummer has received research grants and honoraria from the following companies: AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Janssen, Novartis, Otsuka, Pfizer, Sanofi-Synthelabo.


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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monika Edlinger
    • 1
  • Susanne Baumgartner
    • 1
  • Nadja Eltanaihi-Furtmüller
    • 1
  • Martina Hummer
    • 1
  • W. Wolfgang Fleischhacker
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biological PsychiatryInnsbruck Medical UniversityInnsbruckAustria

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