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BACKGROUND: Women prescribed antipsychotics face the dilemma on whether to continue medication in pregnancy in terms of balancing risks and benefits. Previous research on other psychotropic medications suggests that many women discontinue treatment in early pregnancy. However, very limited evidence exists on discontinuation of antipsychotic medication. METHODS: We identified 495,953 pregnant women from THIN primary care database. Kaplan-Meier plots were used to examine time to last antipsychotic prescription. Poisson regression was used to examine characteristics of those who stopped treatment during pregnancy. RESULTS: There has been an overall increase in prevalence of antipsychotic prescribing since 2007. However, antipsychotics were more likely to be stopped in pregnant than non-pregnant women. Only 107/279 (38%) of women on atypical antipsychotics and 39/207 (19%) of women on typical antipsychotics before pregnancy still received treatment at the start of third trimester. Older women were more likely to continue typical antipsychotic treatment in pregnancy (35+ versus <25 years risk ratio: 3.09 [95% CI 1.76, 5.44]). Likewise, those who received typical antipsychotics for longer periods before were most likely to continue treatment in pregnancy (12+ versus <6 months: RR: 3.12 [95% CI 1.97, 4.95]). For atypical antipsychotics length and dose of prior prescribing were also associated with continuation in pregnancy. CONCLUSIONS: Pregnancy was a major determinant of cessation of antipsychotics. Only 38% of women on atypical and 19% on typical antipsychotics were still prescribed the drug in the third trimester. Duration of prior treatment, maternal age as well as dose was significantly associated with continued treatment of antipsychotics in pregnancy.

Original publication




Journal article


Schizophr Res

Publication Date





218 - 225


Antipsychotics, Medicine discontinuation, Pregnancy, The Health Improvement Network, Adult, Age Distribution, Antipsychotic Agents, Cohort Studies, Drug Utilization, Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions, Female, Humans, Kaplan-Meier Estimate, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, ROC Curve, Schizophrenia, Young Adult