Introduction: New antipsychotics continuously arrive on the market, which thereby influences the approved
and off-label prescribing (OLP) schemes. We aimed to identify the recent trends in the OLP of antipsychotics.
We conducted a literature review based on three different populations: adult, pediatric, and elderly patients.
Methods: A literature search was performed in the PubMed and ScienceDirect databases using the following keyword algorithm: “offlabel”
AND (“antipsychotic*” OR “neuroleptic*”). The period investigated ranged from January 2000 to January 2015. Only Englishwritten
pharmacoepidemiological studies were included.
Results: Seventy-seven relevant results were identified. Among adults, OLP consisted of 40 to 75% of all antipsychotic prescriptions.
The main indications were mood disorders, anxiety disorders, insomnia and agitation. Quetiapine was the most frequently prescribed offlabel
antipsychotic, especially for anxiety and insomnia. Among children, OLP was estimated between 36 and 93.2% of all antipsychotic
prescriptions. Risperidone and aripiprazole were primarily used and were most often prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,
anxiety, or mood disorders. Among elderly individuals, OLP consisted of 22 to 86% of all antipsychotic prescriptions. Antipsychotic
OLP was particularly frequent for agitation; however, a recent decrease in this OLP was identified.
Discussion: Antipsychotics have largely been prescribed off-label in recent years. The types of antipsychotic OLP practices differ according
to the age category of patients. OLP is often used in cases of therapeutic dead-ends or for specific disorders with few or no currently
approved medications. However, other OLP practices only reflect temporary prescription trends for mild symptoms, which may induce