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The need for long-term neuroleptic treatment in schizophrenia.


The need for long-term neuroleptic treatment in nuclear schizophrenia depends on several factors, including the type of chronic schizophrenia, the phase of the disease, and the patient's total social situation. A neuroleptic drug withdrawal study demonstrated a need for further neuroleptic treatment for survival in the community even when the most symptom-free and socially best adapted chronic schizophrenics were considered. Prevention of relapse can apparently be achieved with lower neuroleptic doses than those necessary for optimal symptom suppression. Moreover, the patient's evaluation of his total social situation, including some quality-of-life aspects, must be considered as well as measures to avoid the patient becoming a burden on his family and his friends. Neuroleptic treatment in adequate antipsychotic doses usually means a risk of early, immediate and possibly late side effects. In striking a balance between benefit and risk it seems preferable to keep the benefit strategy, which means that the main point will be to monitor neuroleptic and antiparkinsonian drugs with regard to optimal symptom suppression not accepting any possible late side effects as a guideline.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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