The aim of this study was to determine the existence and extent of differences in prescribing practice for patients according to ethnic group, with two widely used atypical antipsychotics, olanzapine and clozapine. All in-patient prescription charts were screened and patients receiving olanzapine and clozapine identified. Dosage, antipsychotic co-prescription and race were recorded, along with demographic details, and evaluated using comparative statistical analysis.
Overall, 1441 prescriptions were screened; 328 patients received olanzapine and 200 clozapine. Details of ethnic origin were available for 287 of those prescribed olanzapine and 188 of those prescribed clozapine. There was no significant difference between ethnic groups in age or gender, for either drug. For clozapine, dosage and extent of antipsychotic co-prescription did not differ significantly between ethnic groups; for olanzapine, there was no significant difference in daily dose between the groups, but co-prescription was significantly more common in Black (33%) than in White patients (20%; P=0.023).
Important differences in the prescription of olanzapine and clozapine between ethnic groups are uncommon, but demand further investigation. Larger studies incorporating additional baseline details such as diagnosis and body weight are called for.
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