Treating the violent patient with psychosis or impulsivity utilizing antipsychotic polypharmacy and high-dose monotherapy
Debbi A. Morrissette and Stephen M. Stahl
Insufficient treatment of psychosis often manifests as violent and aggressive behaviors that are dangerous to the patient and others, and that warrant treatment strategies which are not considered first-line, evidence-based practices. Such treatment strategies include both antipsychotic polypharmacy (simultaneous use of 2 antipsychotics) and high-dose antipsychotic monotherapy. Here we discuss the hypothesized neurobiological substrates of various types of violence and aggression, as well as providing arguments for the use of antipsychotic polypharmacy and high-dose monotherapy to target dysfunctional neurocircuitry in the subpopulation of patients that is treatment-resistant, violent, and aggressive. In this review, we focus primarily on the data supporting the use of second-generation, atypical antipsychotics both at high doses and in combination with other antipsychotics.