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Krause, Marc; Huhn, Maximilian; Schneider-Thoma, Johannes; Rothe, Philipp; Smith, Robert C.; Leucht, Stefan (2018): Antipsychotic drugs for elderly patients with schizophrenia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. In: European Neuropsychopharmacology, Vol. 28, No. 12: pp. 1360-1370
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Elderly patients with schizophrenia are a particularly vulnerable group often excluded from clinical trials. Currently there is no evidence-synthesis about the efficacy and safety of antipsychotics in this subgroup. We reviewed all randomized-controlled-trials, about antipsychotics in elderly schizophrenics (last search Dec 12, 2017). Pairwise meta-analyses were conducted. The primary outcome was overall symptoms. Secondary outcomes included positive symptoms, negative symptoms, response, dropouts, quality of life, social functioning and side-effects. We included 29 references from 18 unique randomized-controlled-trials with 1225 participants published from 1958 to 2009. The definition of "elderly" was very heterogeneous across the studies (minimum age 46-65, mean age 57-73). There were evidence gaps for most drugs in many outcomes. In terms of efficacy paliperidone was associated with fewer dropouts due to inefficacy than placebo in the only placebo-controlled-trial. Olanzapine was superior to haloperidol in overall symptoms, negative symptoms and response, and it was associated with fewer dropouts than risperidone. Risperidone and haloperidol produced more prolactin increase than olanzapine, and olanzapine was associated with less use of antiparkinson medication than haloperidol. Although we found no marked differences of the effects of these drugs in the elderly, the evidence presented was based on very few usually small studies. To examine specifically whether there are differences in efficacy and side-effects in elderly, which differs in meaningful ways from the general population, studies in patients who are defined by critiera as truly geriatric, which incorporates older age together with multimorbidity and fraility dimensions, may be more informative.