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Psychiatr Serv. 2007 Apr;58(4):482-8.

Characteristics and use patterns of patients taking first-generation depot antipsychotics or oral antipsychotics for schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Health Systems Management, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, 1440 Canal St., Suite 1900, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.



Investigators compared patient characteristics and antipsychotic use patterns between individuals with schizophrenia treated in usual care with first-generation depot antipsychotics and those treated with oral antipsychotics (first- or second-generation or both).


Analyses used data from the U.S. Schizophrenia Care and Assessment Program, a large, prospective study of treatment for schizophrenia conducted July 1997 through September 2003. Participants were assessed at enrollment and every six months thereafter with patient self-report, validated psychiatric measures, and systematic extraction of medical records. Individuals treated with a first-generation depot antipsychotic at any time during the three-year study (N=569) were compared with those treated with only oral antipsychotics (N=1,617) on characteristics at enrollment and medication use pattern during the year after enrollment.


Compared with patients receiving only oral antipsychotics, participants treated with depot medications (haloperidol or fluphenazine decanoate) were more likely to be African American (p<.001); less likely to be a veteran (p=.005); had more psychiatric hospitalizations in the year before enrollment (p<.001); and were more likely to have been arrested (p<.001), to use alcohol and illicit substances (p<.001), and to show higher psychopathology, particularly psychotic symptoms and disorganized thinking (p<.01 for both). In the year after enrollment, participants treated with depot medications had a high mean medication possession ratio (91%), and most of the medication regimens (68%) were augmented with oral antipsychotics for prolonged durations (median of 144 days).


Patients with schizophrenia treated with first-generation depot antipsychotics differed from those treated with only oral antipsychotics. Findings suggest that first-generation depot antipsychotics might address some unmet needs of a unique subgroup of patients with schizophrenia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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