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Schizophr Res. 2010 May;118(1-3):168-75. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2009.12.023. Epub 2010 Jan 13.

DSM-IV catatonia signs and criteria in first-episode, drug-naive, psychotic patients: psychometric validity and response to antipsychotic medication.

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Psychiatric Unit, Virgen del Camino Hospital, Irunlarrea 4, 31008 Pamplona, Spain.



To examine the prevalence, psychometric validity and response to antipsychotic drugs of DSM-IV catatonia signs and criteria in patients with a first-episode psychotic disorder.


Two-hundred antipsychotic-naive patients with a DSM-IV nonaffective psychosis were assessed for catatonia signs and criteria using the Modified Rogers Scale, and the psychometric validity of the 12 DSM-IV catatonia signs and diagnostic criteria was examined. Treatment response of catatonia was assessed in 173 patients who completed one-month trial with haloperidol (n=23), risperidone (n=93) or olanzapine (n=57).


Sixty-two patients (31%) endorsed at least one catatonia sign and 24 (12%) met DSM-IV criteria for catatonia. DSM-IV catatonia signs showed an excellent convergent validity (r>0.8) with other rating scales, and DSM-IV criteria showed moderate to fair concordance with other criteria (kappa from 0.57 to 0.77). The total number of signs reflected catatonia severity and demonstrated excellent diagnostic performance against alternative diagnostic criteria. The presence of at least any three signs accurately identified patients with catatonia. Three catatonia domains were identified (hyperkinesia, volitional and hypokinesia), which showed a different association pattern with external variables. Overall, catatonia ratings were particularly related to both dyskinesia and disorganization symptoms and lacked diagnostic specificity for schizophrenia. Patients with catatonia responded well to antipsychotic medication irrespective of the type of antipsychotic drug used, although treatment response was dependent upon the remission of psychotic symptoms.


These results may inform the DSM-V development on diagnosis and classification of catatonia, and indicate that catatonia signs and syndromes are highly responsive to antipsychotic drugs.

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