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Front Psychiatry. 2012 Apr 2;3:29. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2012.00029. eCollection 2012.

Treatment of early onset schizophrenia: recent trends, challenges and future considerations.

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Child Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD, USA.


Early onset schizophrenia (onset before adulthood) is a rare, severe, and chronic form of schizophrenia. The clinical presentation of schizophrenia at this unusually early age of onset has been associated with premorbid developmental abnormalities, poor response to neuroleptic treatment, greater admission rates, and poor prognosis. This is a brief, condensed review of current treatment strategies for the early onset population highlighting the need for novel treatment strategies for these generally treatment-refractory cases. Based on the current literature, second-generation antipsychotics remain the mainstay of treatment, although current medications provide suboptimal response at best. Based on the adult literature, combining antipsychotic treatment with psychotherapeutic intervention may be a more comprehensive treatment strategy. Indeed, early detection, identification of relevant biomarkers, coupled with advancing knowledge of the neurochemical and neuroanatomic pathways may help design informed and novel treatment strategies.


MEG; adolescent; antipsychotic; early intervention; schizophrenia

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