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March 1995

Neuroleptic Withdrawal in Schizophrenic Patients: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Author Affiliations

Laboratory of Biological Psychiatry Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine Cleveland, Ohio

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1995;52(3):200-202. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1995.03950150032005

GILBERT and colleagues1 have provided a much needed review of the risk of relapse following neuroleptic withdrawal compared with neuroleptic maintenance in patients with schizophrenia. They also have provided some sensible recommendations for clinicians and guidelines for further research concerning neuroleptic maintenance treatment vs withdrawal. This review comes at a time of increased public and professional concern about the ethics of research concerning neuroleptic withdrawal in schizophrenia, stimulated in part by national attention to complaints from the families of patients who participated in a neuroleptic withdrawal study at the University of California—Los Angeles. However, there is another issue that this review can provide the basis for further consideration of, ie, the desirability of indefinite maintenance treatment with neuroleptic drugs in patients with schizophrenia. This is the course recommended by Gilbert et al, albeit at the lowest possible dose to prevent relapse, as