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Do schizophrenics well adapted in the community need neuroleptics? A depot neuroleptic withdrawal study.


Two depot neuroleptics (flupenthixol plamitate and clopenthixol decanoate) used for at least 15 months were withdrawn in 32 schizophrenic outpatients belonging to the most symptom-free and social cohort of a total patient population. They all had only slight schizophrenic symptoms, were well adapted in the community, and had been free from relapse for at least 2 years before the study. They were assessed by means of rating scales every month during the first six months and then after 9 and 12 months. After the one-year trial 26 patients had relapsed. Moreover, after the control period further 4 out of 6 patients relapsed during the following drug-free year. These results indicate the necessity of a long follow-up period after withdrawal of depot neuroleptics. Moreover, the results suggest that periodical drug-free periods of about 3 months are appropriate in symptom-poor patients during long-term treatment with long-acting antipsychotic drugs.

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