August 08, 2004

Predictors of antipsychotic treatment response in patients with first-episode schizophrenia

Br J Psychiatry. 2004 Jul;185:18-24

Predictors of antipsychotic treatment response in patients with first-episode schizophrenia, schizoaffective and schizophreniform disorders.

Perkins D, Lieberman J, Gu H, Tohen M, McEvoy J, Green A, Zipursky R, Strakowski S, Sharma T, Kahn R, Gur R, Tollefson G; HGDH Research Group.

This article addresses factors that are correlated with better treatment outcomes in people newly diagnosed with schizophrenia. They primarily are looking at the duration of untreated psychosis (DUP). The subjects were chosen from a study looking at haloperidol and olanzapine in new onset schizophrenia/psychotic disorder. Looking at a number of different factors, the authors conclude that there is evidence that the earlier someone with psychosis is treated and the higher level of function they have when treated, the faster they are likely to respond to antipsychotic medications. This effect is small however, meaning that there are still several other factors that effect treatment response, though many of those are not fully known.

This is an interesting study though the results are not terribly surprising. This study does a reasonable job of trying to account for various variables that could confound the results by controlling for them in the two groups. It is not done perfectly, there are patients who drop out of the study and we do not know what happened to them, but overall the authors make a very valid point that if someone has new onset psychotic symptoms, it is better to get them treatment as soon as possible and before they lose their ability to function.

Declaration of interest This work was supported by Lilly Research Laboratories and USPHS grants MH01905-01 (D.O.P.) MH00537, MH33127 (J.A.L.) the UNC Mental Health and Neuroscience Clinical Research Centre, the North Carolina Foundation of Hope,MH52376 andMH62157 (A.I.G.).

link to the article on pubmed

Author: Jacob Ballon


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