Antipsychotic Polypharmacy in Czech Republic and in Ukraine

  • Viktor P. Samokhvalov
  • Oksana E. Samokhvalova
  • Viktoria A. Verbenko
  • Georgij N. Verbenko


In prescription surveys, use of antipsychotic polypharmacy is common, despite scant supporting evidence. This study investigated the use of monotherapy and different types of polypharmacotherapy among inpatients with acute episodes of schizophrenia in the Czech Republic and in the Ukraine. Two hundred participants were enrolled from two sites: Lnare Psychiatric Clinic, Czech Republic (n = 100) and Psychiatric Hospital №1 in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine (n = 100). Each inpatient was evaluated twice with the Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (PANSS) at admission (acute stage) and at discharge (a stabilization stage) from hospital. This study revealed that antipsychotic polypharmacy was prescribed considerably more frequently in the Czech sample (43%) than in the Ukrainian group (29%). The use of combinations of first generation antipsychotics (FGAs) and second generation antipsychotics (SGAs) during hospitalization was six times more prevalent in the Czech Republic (31%) than in the Ukraine (5%; p < 0.001); 24% of the Ukranian inpatients received a combination of two or more FGAs, in comparison to 12% of the Czech inpatients (p < 0.05) at admission, and the rates decreased to 4% and 9%, respectively, at discharge (p < 0.05). Augmentation with off-label prescribed antidepressants and mood stabilizers was far more prevalent in the Ukraine (65 and 54%, at admission and discharge, respectively) than in the Czech sample (40 and 29%, at admission and discharge, respectively). Antipsychotic monotherapy for acute psychosis in the Czech Republic (20%; mainly SGAs) was almost three times more common than in the Ukraine (8%; mainly FGAs; t = 4.63, p < 0.001);. When the mental health condition stabilized, antipsychotic monotherapy was increased: from 20 to 33% in the Czech Republic and from 8 to 18% in the Ukraine. International multicenter studies are warranted to investigate the reasons for and the impact of the predominant use of polypharmacy.


Czech Republic Mood Stabilizer Antipsychotic Agent Acute Psychosis Generation Antipsychotic 
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.



First generation antipsychotics


National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors report


Positive and Negative Symptom Scale of Schizophrenia


Standard deviation


Second generation antipsychotics


Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor



The authors express their gratitude to Dr. Vladimir Muchl, the director of the psychiatric hospital in Lnare (Czech Republic), and Dr. Irina A. Strojevskaja, chief of the acute department of Crimean Psychiatric Hospital № 1(Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine).

Authors wish to express gratitude to Ms. Rena Kurs, B.A. (Shaar-Menashe Mental Health Center, Hadera, Israel) for editorial assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Viktor P. Samokhvalov
    • 1
  • Oksana E. Samokhvalova
    • 2
  • Viktoria A. Verbenko
    • 3
  • Georgij N. Verbenko
    • 3
  1. 1.Deutsch-Russische Gesellschaft für Psychiatrie, Psychotherapie und Psychosoziale GesundheitNürnbergGermany
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryCentral Military Hospital – Military University HospitalPragueCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryCrimean Medical UniversitySimferopol, CrimeaUkraine

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