SECOND-GENERATION medications for schizophrenia, introduced in the United States in 1990, have brought some benefit to most patients and dramatic improvement to a few, prompting cautious optimism about a better future for the 2 million Americans estimated to have this severe disorder, according to talks at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in Toronto, Ontario, and interviews with experts in the field.
"The incremental improvements are significant enough that many persons with schizophrenia are able to come back into society," said Richard Jed Wyatt, MD, chief of the Neuropsychiatry Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md. "If we can keep people out of hospitals 5 to 10 days a year," he asserted, "we easily can cover the roughly $2000 cost of an entire year's medication."
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