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August 1972

A Comparison of Lithium Carbonate and Chlorpromazine in the Treatment of Excited Schizo-Affectives: Report of the Veterans Administration and National Institute of Mental Health Collaborative Study Group

Author Affiliations

Perry Point, Md; Washington, DC; Perry Point, Md
From the Central Neuropsychiatric Research Laboratory, Veterans Administration Hospital, Perry Point, Md (Drs. Prien and Klett), and the Psychiatry Division, Psychiatry, Neurology, and Psychology Service, Department of Medicine and Surgery, Veterans Administration Central Office, Washington, DC (Dr. Caffey).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1972;27(2):182-189. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1972.01750260034005

In an 18-hospital collaborative study, 83 newly admitted patients with a diagnosis of schizo-affective psychosis, excited state, were randomly assigned to lithium carbonate or chlorpromazine hydrochloride for a three-week period. Patients were classified as highly active or mildly active on the basis of degree of hyperactivity shown at admission.

The results showed that lithium carbonate was less effective than chlorpromazine in treating highly active patients. This was due primarily to lithium carbonate's relatively poor control of hostile, excited behavior. There was no major difference between lithium carbonate and chlorpromazine among mildly active patients; both treatments showed a significant reduction in affective and schizophrenic behavior. The possibility that lithium carbonate may have neuroleptic properties is considered in a discussion of the therapeutic and diagnostic implications of these results.

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