September 20, 2004

Atypical Meds Show Benefits in Long-Term Study

Some studies (see "Leading Drugs for Psychosis Come Under New Scrutiny"in NY times, 05/20/03) have called into question the efficacy of the more expensive atypical antipsychotics, when compared with generic treatments such as haloperidol. According to a recent study from Washington University, which tracked results over three years (a longer period than the previous studies), switching to atypical antipsychotic medication may improve quality of life, symptom management, and adherance to outpatient treatment.

25 patients with chronic psychosis, all of whom had recently switched from a typical to an atypical antipsychotic, were evaluated over three years (via self-reporting) for symptom severity and demand for services. The atypicals used by patients in the study included risperidone, olanzapine, and quetiapine.

Results showed a decrease in symptom severity over three years, and a decrease in demand for services. Patients also reported improved quality of life.

The study suggests that the reduced demand for services may reflect "an improved adherence with outpatient follow-up visits and psychiatric rehabilitative activities as a result of reduced clinical symptoms and improved self-perception of wellbeing by the patients."

For the full report, see "Switching to atypical antipsychotics provides long-term benefits" (Sept 20 2004). Available at PsychiatrySource (


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