New Studies Provide Additional Insight into Schizophrenia Treament
Two new studies provided additional insights into comparing treatment options and to what extent antipsychotic medications help people with schizophrenia learn social, interpersonal, and community living skills
Akinso: Two new studies provided additional insights into comparing treatment options and to what extent antipsychotic medications help people with schizophrenia learn social, interpersonal, and community living skills. The studies funded by the National Institute of Mental Health are published in the March 2007 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry. Dr. Phillip Wang, director of the Division of Services and Intervention Research at the NIMH, said one study looks at the effects of newer antipsychotic medications given to patients when the older medications don't work.
Wang: The end result of that trial was that there were some differences. Patients who failed this older drug of the three newer ones that they were then offered, the one that they were able to remain on longest was called quetiapine. The one that they were able remain on for an intermediate length was olanzapine. And the one that they were able to stay on for the shortest period of time was risperidone. The take home message is that the response to these kinds of treatments is variable there's no one size fits all for patients with schizophrenia.
Akinso: Dr. Wang said the second study showed schizophrenia patients taking antipsychotic medications experienced only modest improvements in social, interpersonal and community living skills, regardless of which medication was prescribed.
Wang: The end result was that no matter what patients were prescribed the improvements in functioning were modest at best. And there were really no differences between the agents. What this tells us that antipsychotic medications probably are not going to be enough for most patients to have an improvement in their functioning in their lives, and probably some more intensive rehabilitation (or) other interventions are going to be necessary in order to really help people improve functioning in a substantial way.
Akinso: Dr. Wang said that over the long run patients are more likely to function better in the community if they are able to stay on their initial treatment, especially those who are the most impaired. Both studies were a part of the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials for Intervention Effectiveness better known as CATIE. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Phillip Wang