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September 1979

Predicting Drug-Free Improvement in Schizophrenic Psychosis

Author Affiliations

From the Section on Neuropsychopharmacology, Biological Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md. Dr Marder is now at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Brentwood, Calif, and Dr Docherty is at the Yale Psychiatric Institute, New Haven, Conn.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(10):1080-1085. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780100050004

• In a sample of 22 psychotic schizophrenic patients, eight improved substantially during a 30-day drug-free period. The drug-free improver group differed from the nonimprover group in demonstrating a later age of onset, briefer psychotic episodes, shorter hospitalizations, and better prognostic scores on the Phillips Scale, Strauss-Carpenter Modified Prognostic Scale, and the Vaillant Scale. After drug withdrawal, drug-free improvers frequently demonstrated further improvement when treated with doses of neuroleptic drugs that were substantially lower than the clinically recommended doses. The authors raise the question as to whether the drug-free improvers may represent a subgroup of schizophrenic patients who are being overtreated presently by standard neuroleptic practice.

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