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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1999 Apr;99(4):274-80.

Health care costs of therapy-refractory schizophrenic patients treated with clozapine: a study in a community psychiatric service in Italy.

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  • 1Psychiatric Unit of Magenta, Hospital of Legnano, Milan, Italy.


This study evaluates the utilization of clozapine in the treatment of therapy-refractory schizophrenia in terms both of patterns of care and of health care costs in a community psychiatric service in Italy. Data covering the year prior to commencing clozapine and the year following the initiation of the therapy were collected. Clinical outcome was assessed by means of the Clinical Global Impression (CGI) and Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scales. Cost analysis followed a two-step procedure: (i) to record all health care services provided to patients and (ii) to assign a monetary value to each service. Three of the 15 patients enrolled in the study dropped out before the end of the 12-month period of therapy. Considering the 12 patients on clozapine treatment for at least 1 year, clinical improvements are associated with a substantial modification of the pattern of care. While patients in the pre-clozapine period were mainly managed in hospital settings, patients on clozapine were prevalently placed in the community and participated in intensive rehabilitative programmes. The higher costs of drug therapy and community services in the post-clozapine period were more than offset by the lower costs of acute hospital care.

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