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Psychiatr Serv. 2009 Feb;60(2):210-6. doi: 10.1176/

Treatment patterns for schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia among Medicaid patients.

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Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Dr., New York, NY 10032, USA.



This study compared background characteristics, pharmacologic treatment, and service use of adults treated for schizoaffective disorder and adults treated for schizophrenia.


Medicaid claims data from two states were analyzed with a focus on adults treated for schizoaffective disorder or schizophrenia. Patient groups were compared regarding demographic characteristics, pharmacologic treatment, and health service use during 180 days before and after a claim for either schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.


A larger proportion of patients were treated for schizophrenia (N=38,760; 70.1%) than for schizoaffective disorder (N=16,570; 29.9%). During the 180 days before the index diagnosis claim, significantly more patients with schizoaffective disorder than those with schizophrenia were treated for depressive disorder (19.6% versus 11.4%, p<.001), bipolar disorder (14.8% versus 5.8%, p<.001), substance use disorder (11.8% versus 9.7%, p<.001), and anxiety disorder (6.9% versus 5.3%, p<.001). After the index claim, a similar proportion of both diagnostic groups were treated with antipsychotic medications (schizoaffective disorder, 87.3%; schizophrenia, 87.0%), although patients with schizoaffective disorder were significantly more likely than patients with schizophrenia to receive antidepressants (61.7% versus 44.0%, p<.001), mood stabilizers (55.2% versus 34.4%, p<.001), and anxiolytics (43.2% versus 35.1%, p<.001). Patients with schizoaffective disorder were also significantly more likely than patients with schizophrenia to receive psychotherapy (23.4% versus 13.0%, p<.001) and inpatient mental health care (9.4% versus 6.2%, p<.001), although the latter was not significant after the analysis controlled for background characteristics.


Schizoaffective disorder is commonly diagnosed among Medicaid beneficiaries. These patients often receive complex pharmacologic regimens, and many also receive treatment for mood disorders. Differences in service use patterns between schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia argue for separate consideration of their health care needs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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