Long-term maintenance treatment in chronic schizophrenia. Some observations on outcome and duration.

The authors reports on several studies of his own, namely two discontinuation studies and a survey of all known schizophrenic patients in a defined catchment area for a period of two years. Of the 140 patients prescribed a long-acting neuroleptic (LAN), 83% were still receiving injections after 2 years. Some 70% were responders, but 50% were rated on the lowest point of social functioning on a relative's scale. The discontinuation studies followed up patients for up to 4 years after discontinuing LAN. For a first schizophrenic illness the highest relapse rate is in the first year (29%), but thereafter (2-4 years it remains fairly constant (3-6%), which points to the need for more long term studies. Patients who had received depot therapy for a minimum of 1 year have a better survival rate than patients discontinuing LAN after a shorter period. For chronic schizophrenia the highest relapse rate is in the first year (60%), but falls each year over the next three years (11% in the second year, 5% in 2-4 years). There is no difference of outcome with increased duration of medication within the four year periods on medication studied. The adoption of LANs in the United Kingdom over the past 13 years is in the author's opinion the most important single improvement in the treatment of schizophrenia; but in the absence of any clear indication that LANs can be discontinued after even 4 years, the emphasis must remain on their proper use: personalised prescriptions (dose reduced with time down to the lowest possible dosage) and caution against unnecessary polypharmacy.
AuthorsD A Johnson
JournalActa psychiatrica Belgica (Acta Psychiatr Belg) 1981 Mar-Apr Vol. 81 Issue 2 Pg. 161-72 ISSN: 0300-8967 [Print] BELGIUM
PMID6117186 (Publication Type: Journal Article)
Chemical References
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Antipsychotic Agents (administration & dosage)
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Great Britain
  • Humans
  • Outcome and Process Assessment (Health Care)
  • Schizophrenia (drug therapy)
  • Social Adjustment
  • Time Factors

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