Prevent Schizophrenia Relapse With Regular Maintenance

Peter M. Yellowlees, MBBS, MD


December 19, 2017

This is the Medscape Psychiatry Minute. I'm Dr Peter Yellowlees.

Definitions of relapse in patients with schizophrenia differ substantially between studies, but in investigations involving data aggregation, total scores on clinical rating scales may provide a more generalizable outcome to be measured. Now a team of investigators[1] from the University of Toronto, Canada, have undertaken a review of 11 studies involving 2826 patients to compare total symptom trajectories on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale for antipsychotic versus placebo over a 1-year period of maintenance treatment in schizophrenia. Meta-regression analyses revealed that total scores and score changes were almost unchanged in patients continuing antipsychotic treatment, whereas symptoms continuously worsened over time in those switching to placebo treatment.

This study confirms, once again, how important regular antipsychotic maintenance is for patients with schizophrenia and how it can prevent relapse, leading to substantially better clinical outcomes. Do keep your patients with schizophrenia on maintenance medication while combining this treatment with psychosocial approaches.

Thank you for listening to this Medscape Psychiatry Minute. Do continue to enjoy your practice.


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