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Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2008 Nov;23(6):325-31. doi: 10.1097/YIC.0b013e32830c2042.

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

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  • 1University of Stellenbosch, Tygerberg, South Africa.


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.

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