Ziprasidone versus other atypical antipsychotics for schizophrenia

Ziprasidone is one of a group of new 'atypical' antipsychotics used for treating schizophrenia. This review wanted to find out if there was evidence to support that there is any difference between ziprasidone and the other atypical medications. Because of the large number of people that dropped out of the studies it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions, however, people taking ziprasidone did not do as well regarding their symptoms, as those taking olanzapine and risperidone and perhaps amisulpride, but they were less likely to gain weight.

Authors' conclusions: 

Ziprasidone may be a slightly less efficacious antipsychotic drug than amisulpride, olanzapine and risperidone. Its main advantage is the low propensity to induce weight gain and associated adverse effects. However, the high overall rate of participants leaving the studies early limits the validity of any findings.

Read the full abstract...

In many countries of the industrialised world second generation ('atypical') antipsychotics have become the first line drug treatment for people with schizophrenia. The question as to whether, and if so how much, the effects of the various new generation antipsychotics differ is a matter of debate. In this review we examined how the efficacy and tolerability of ziprasidone differs from that of other second generation antipsychotics.


To evaluate the effects of ziprasidone compared with other atypical antipsychotics for people with schizophrenia and schizophrenia-like psychoses.

Search strategy: 

We searched the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group Specialised Register (April 2007) and references of all identified studies for further trial citations. We contacted pharmaceutical companies and authors of trials for additional information.

This search was updated July 2012, 254 citations added to awaiting classification section.

Selection criteria: 

We included all randomised, at least single-blind, controlled trials comparing oral ziprasidone with oral forms of amisulpride, aripiprazole, clozapine, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone or zotepine in people with schizophrenia or schizophrenia-like psychoses.

Data collection and analysis: 

We extracted data independently. For continuous data, we calculated weighted mean differences (MD) for dichotomous data we calculated relative risks (RR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) on an intention-to-treat basis based on a random-effects model. We calculated numbers needed to treat/harm (NNT/NNH) where appropriate.

Main results: 

The review currently includes nine randomised controlled trials (RCTs) with 3361 participants. The overall rate of premature study discontinuation was very high (59.1%). Data for the comparisons of ziprasidone with amisulpride, clozapine, olanzapine, quetiapine and risperidone were available. Ziprasidone was a less acceptable treatment than olanzapine (leaving the studies early for any reason: 5 RCTs, n=1937, RR 1.26 CI 1.18 to 1.35, NNH 7 CI 5 to 10) and risperidone (3 RCTs, n=1029, RR 1.11 CI 1.02 to 1.20, NNH 14 CI 8 to 50), but not than the other second generation antipsychotic drugs. Ziprasidone was less efficacious than amisulpride (leaving the study early due to inefficacy: 1 RCT, n=123, RR 4.72 CI 1.06 to 20.98, NNH 8 CI 5 to 50) olanzapine (PANSS total score: 4 RCTs, n=1291, MD 8.32 CI 5.64 to 10.99) and risperidone (PANSS total score: 3 RCTs, n=1016, MD 3.91 CI 0.27 to 7.55). Based on limited data there were no significant differences in tolerability between ziprasidone and amisulpride or clozapine. Ziprasidone produced less weight gain than olanzapine (5 RCTs, n=1659, MD -3.82 CI -4.69 to -2.96), quetiapine (2 RCTs, n=754, RR 0.45 CI 0.28 to 0.74) or risperidone (3 RCTs, n=1063, RR 0.49 CI 0.33 to 0.74). It was associated with less cholesterol increase than olanzapine, quetiapine and risperidone. Conversely ziprasidone produced slightly more extrapyramidal side-effects than olanzapine (4 RCTs, n=1732, RR 1.43 CI 1.03 to 1.99, NNH not estimable) and more prolactin increase than quetiapine (2 RCTs, n=754, MD 4.77 CI 1.37 to 8.16), but less movement disorders (2 RCTs, n=822, RR 0.70 CI 0.51 to 0.97, NNT not estimable) and less prolactin increase (2 RCTs, n=767, MD -21.97 CI -27.34 to -16.60) than risperidone.

Note: the 254 citations in the awaiting classification section of the review may alter the conclusions of the review once assessed.