THE ARTICLE by Carpenter et al1 in this issue of the ARCHIVES presents a clear evaluation of the role of medication-free research in schizophrenia and discusses the ethical implications of such research. The authors argue that medication-free research offers distinct advantages in treatment trials and that the risks for relapse can be limited through careful patient selection, close clinical monitoring, and psychosocial treatments. They further discuss the role of medication-free research in probing questions concerning etiology and provide some assessment of the issues in determining the risk-to-benefit ratio in these cases. They also suggest some relevant guidelines for patient selection in carrying out medication-free research. Finally, they provide some thoughtful insights on the issue of informed consent. They conclude that medication-free research in schizophrenia is clearly worthwhile and even necessary in treatment evaluations and in studies aimed at understanding etiology and that reasonable guidelines should be established by
Henn FA, Lader M, Helmchen H. Medication-Free Research With Schizophrenic Patients: A European Perspective. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1997;54(5):412–413. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1997.01830170028003
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