Schizophrenia medical therapy

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1];Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Vindhya BellamKonda, M.B.B.S [2] Irfan Dotani

Medical Therapy

Risperidone (trade name Risperdal) is a common atypical antipsychotic medication.
  • The two classes of antipsychotics are generally thought equally effective for the treatment of the positive symptoms.
  • Some researchers have suggested that the atypicals offer additional benefit for the negative symptoms and cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia, although the clinical significance of these effects has yet to be established.
  • Recent reviews have refuted the claim that atypical antipsychotics have fewer extrapyramidal side effects than typical antipsychotics, especially when the latter are used in low doses or when low potency antipsychotics are chosen.[5]
  • Response of symptoms to mediation is variable; "Treatment-resistant schizophrenia" is a term used for the failure of symptoms to respond satisfactorily to at least two different antipsychotics.[6]
  • Patients in this category may be prescribed clozapine, a medication of superior effectiveness but several potentially lethal side effects including agranulocytosis and myocarditis.[7][8]
  • Clozapine may have the additional benefit of reducing propensity for substance abuse in schizophrenic patients. [9]
  • For other patients who are unwilling or unable to take medication regularly, long-acting depot preparations of antipsychotics may be given every two weeks to achieve control.
  • America and Australia are two countries with laws allowing the forced administration of this type of medication on those who refuse but are otherwise stable and living in the community.
  • Nevertheless, some findings indicate that in the longer-term many individuals do better without taking antipsychotics.[10]


  1. The Royal College of Psychiatrists & The British Psychological Society (2003). Schizophrenia. Full national clinical guideline on core interventions in primary and secondary care (PDF). London: Gaskell and the British Psychological Society. Retrieved on 2007-05-17.
  2. Lieberman JA, Stroup TS, McEvoy JP, Swartz MS, Rosenheck RA, Perkins DO, Keefe RS, Davis SM, Davis CE, Lebowitz BD, Severe J, Hsiao JK, Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) Investigators. (2005). Effectiveness of antipsychotic drugs in patients with chronic schizophrenia. The New England Journal of Medicine, 353 (12), 1209–23. PMID 16172203
  3. Dickson RA, Dalby JT, Williams R, Edwards AL. (1995) Risperidone induced prolactin elevations in premenopausal women with schizophrenia. American Journal of Psychiatry,152,1102-1103. PMID 7540803
  4. Ananth J, Parameswaran S, Gunatilake S, Burgoyne K, Sidhom T. (2004) Neuroleptic malignant syndrome and atypical antipsychotic drugs. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 65 (4), 464-70. PMID 15119907
  5. Leucht S, Wahlbeck K, Hamann J, Kissling W (2003). New generation antipsychotics versus low-potency conventional antipsychotics: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet, 361(9369), 1581–9. PMID 12747876
  6. Meltzer HY (1997). "Treatment-resistant schizophrenia--the role of clozapine". Current Medical Research and Opinion. 14 (1): 1–20. PMID 9524789.
  7. Wahlbeck K, Cheine MV, Essali A (2007). "Clozapine versus typical neuroleptic medication for schizophrenia". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley and Sons, Ltd. (2). doi:10.1002/14651858.CD000059. PMID 10796289. ISSN 1464-780X.
  8. Haas SJ, Hill R, Krum H (2007). "Clozapine-associated myocarditis: a review of 116 cases of suspected myocarditis associated with the use of clozapine in Australia during 1993–2003". Drug Safety. 30: 47–57. PMID 17194170.
  9. Lee M, Dickson RA, Campbell M, Oliphant J, Gretton H, Dalby JT. (1998). "Clozapine and substance abuse in patients with schizophrenia". Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 43: 855–856.
  10. Harrow M, Jobe TH. (2007) Factors involved in outcome and recovery in schizophrenia patients not on antipsychotic medications: a 15-year multifollow-up study. J Nerv Ment Dis. May;195(5):406-14. PMID 17502806

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