Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Study Finds Intermittent Antipsychotic Therapy Not as Effective as Chronic Therapy

Researchers with the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group at England's University of Nottingham reported in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Review that intermittent antipsychotic therapy is less effective than long-term therapy in preventing episodic recurrences in individuals with schizophrenia.

The study analyzed data from multiple randomized trials—covering  50 years—that  evaluated relapse and hospitalization rates of 2,252 patients undergoing intermittent or chronic therapy for schizophrenia or schizophrenia-like psychosis. The data showed that episodic recurrence and hospital readmission rates were higher among individuals receiving intermittent therapy than those receiving continuous maintenance treatment. However, intermittent therapy was more effective than placebo. 

William Carpenter Jr., M.D., a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, told Psychiatric News, "We should avoid the assumption that it is a horse race and that the winning horse is best for everyone. Continuous medication is best for relapse prevention for patients who will be medication adherent, but low medication adherence rates suggest alternatives...doctors have to individualize treatment decisions."

For more information about schizophrenia treatments, see "Optimism Grows About Potential to Aid Schizophrenia Cognition" in Psychiatric News. Also see Clinical Manual for Treatment of Schizophrenia from American Psychiatric Publishing.

(Image: Alexander Raths/


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