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Remission in patients with first-episode schizophrenia receiving assured antipsychotic medication: a study with risperidone long-acting injection

Emsley, Robina; Oosthuizen, Petrusa; Koen, Liezla; Niehaus, Dana J.H.a; Medori, Rossellab; Rabinowitz, Jonathanc

International Clinical Psychopharmacology: November 2008 - Volume 23 - Issue 6 - p 325-331
doi: 10.1097/YIC.0b013e32830c2042
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Recently proposed criteria for remission by a ‘Remission in Schizophrenia Working Group’ have generated considerable interest. We assessed rates, predictors, and correlates of remission in a sample of patients with first-episode schizophrenia treated with injectable, long-acting risperidone. This allowed us to examine remission among patients known to be receiving medication. This was a single-site open-label study in which 50 newly diagnosed cases of schizophreniform disorder or schizophrenia aged 16 to 43 years were treated with injectable, long-acting risperidone 25–50 mg every 2 weeks for 2 years. Remission, according to Remission in Schizophrenia Working Group criteria, was achieved in 64% of the patients. Of those achieving remission, 97% maintained this status until study completion. Remission was associated with greater improvements in other symptom domains, insight, and social and occupational functioning. Patients in remission received lower doses of antipsychotic medication, had fewer extrapyramidal symptoms, and a more favorable attitude toward medication. The results of this open-label study suggest that a majority of first-episode patients who receive long-acting injectable antipsychotic medication may achieve sustained remission. Double-blind-controlled studies using long-acting injectable antipsychotics in early psychosis are warranted to further test this.

aUniversity of Stellenbosch, Tygerberg, South Africa

bJanssen-Cilag EMEA, Beerse, Belgium

cBar Ilan University, Israel

Correspondence to Dr Robin Emsley, Department of Psychiatry, University of Stellenbosch, Tygerberg 7505, Cape Town, South Africa

E-mail: rae@sun.ac.za

Received 31 January 2008 Accepted 10 June 2008

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.