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Antipsychotic treatment failure in patients with psychosis and co-morbid cannabis use: A systematic review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Original languageEnglish
Article number112523
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

King's Authors


Whilst the effects of cannabis preceding psychosis onset are well established, an effect post-onset is less clear. Emerging evidence suggests that cannabis use is associated with increased relapse outcomes possibly because of determinants, antipsychotic treatment failure and medication adherence, that are not mutually exclusive. Due to the paucity of literature on antipsychotic treatment failure an association with cannabis remains conjectural. This review sought to summarise current evidence regarding the effect of cannabis use on antipsychotic treatment failure among users and non-users with psychosis. Ovid databases (Embase, Journals@Ovid Full Text, OvidMEDLINE® In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations and PsycINFO) were searched to identify relevant articles. Seven articles met eligibility criteria. Cannabis use was associated with the following deleterious outcomes increased: odds of non-remission, prescription of unique antipsychotic medications, cumulative prescription of Clozapine and poor treatment trajectories. One study reported similar life-time, but lower past-year, rates of cannabis use in those prescribed Clozapine. Another study reported differences between groups for chlorpromazine equivalent doses for long-term Olanzapine prescription. Improved methodologies are warranted due to a lack of well-designed prospective studies and heterogeneity of key variables. There remains, despite research paucity, the need to encourage early cannabis cessation and higher-quality research to inform clinical practice.

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