CNS Drugs

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 9–20 | Cite as

Progress in Defining Optimal Treatment Outcome in Schizophrenia

Leading Article

Abstract

Historically, schizophrenia has been associated with early-onset, persistent symptoms, and progressive decline accompanied by poor functional recovery. The advent of effective drugs in the 1950s improved symptom control, at least from the standpoint of positive features (e.g. hallucinations, delusions). However, even here the response was limited and efficacy in other symptom domains (cognitive, deficit/negative) was minimal. With clozapine as the prototype, the second-generation antipsychotics arrived in the 1990s with claims of improved tolerability, as well as greater and broader clinical efficacy, all of which was to translate to gains in functional outcome and quality of life. The capacity of these drugs to effect such changes has since been tempered, but it remains that the research and hope generated served as an impetus to redefine outcomes.

A medical-based model, centred on pharmacotherapy and symptom resolution, has given way to a re-conceptualization of schizophrenia and treatment goals. There is a clearer distinction between clinical and functional outcomes, and, with this, greater attention has been given to these other symptom domains that curtail improvement in the latter. At the same time, a concerted shift to shared decision making has underscored quality-of-life issues that benefit from, but cannot be guaranteed by, either clinical or functional improvement. To this end, the field has now embraced a recovery model that is seen as a process, multidimensional and individualized, rather than dichotomous and symptom driven.

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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary Remington
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • George Foussias
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ofer Agid
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Institute of Medical ScienceUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Schizophrenia Program, Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada

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