City Research Online

An analysis of views about supported reduction or discontinuation of antipsychotic treatment among people with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders

Crellin, N. E., Priebe, S., Morant, N. , Lewis, G., Freemantle, N., Johnson, S., Horne, R., Pinfold, V., Kent, L., Smith, R., Darton, K., Cooper, R. E., Long, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-6920-9676, Thompson, J., Gruenwald, L., Freudenthal, R., Stansfeld, J. L. & Moncrieff, J. (2022). An analysis of views about supported reduction or discontinuation of antipsychotic treatment among people with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. BMC Psychiatry, 22(1), article number 185. doi: 10.1186/s12888-022-03822-5


Antipsychotic medication can reduce psychotic symptoms and risk of relapse in people with schizophrenia and related disorders, but it is not always effective and adverse effects can be significant. We know little of patients’ views about continuing or discontinuing antipsychotic treatment.

To explore the views of people with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders about continuing their antipsychotic medication or attempting to reduce or discontinue this medication with clinical support.

We collected quantitative and qualitative data by conducting semi-structured interviews in London, UK. Factors predicting a desire to discontinue medication were explored. Content analysis of qualitative data was undertaken.

We interviewed 269 participants. 33% (95% CI, 27 to 39%) were content with taking long-term antipsychotic medication. Others reported they took it reluctantly (19%), accepted it on a temporary basis (24%) or actively disliked it (18%). 31% (95% CI, 25 to 37%) said they would like to try to stop medication with professional support, and 45% (95% CI, 39 to 51%) wanted the opportunity to reduce medication. People who wanted to discontinue had more negative attitudes towards the medication but were otherwise similar to other participants. Wanting to stop or reduce medication was motivated mainly by adverse effects and health concerns. Professional support was identified as potentially helpful to achieve reduction.

This large study reveals that patients are commonly unhappy about the idea of taking antipsychotics on a continuing or life-long basis. Professional support for people who want to try to reduce or stop medication is valued.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Publisher Keywords: Schizophrenia, Psychosis, Antipsychotics, Mixed methods
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of s12888-022-03822-5.pdf]
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (767kB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login