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Research on the effectiveness of pharmacotherapies for schizophrenia and comorbid substance use disorder (SUD) is very sparse, and non-existent on the prevention of the development of SUDs in patients with schizophrenia.
To compare the real-world effectiveness of antipsychotics in schizophrenia in decreasing risk of developing an initial SUD, and psychiatric hospital admission and SUD-related hospital admission among patients with an SUD.
Two independent national cohorts including all persons diagnosed with schizophrenia (N = 45 476) were followed up for 22 (Finland: 1996–2017) and 11 (Sweden: 2006–2016) years. Risk of developing an SUD was calculated with between-individual models, and risks of psychiatric and SUD-related hospital admission were calculated with within-individual models, using Cox regression and adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) for using versus not using certain antipsychotics.
For patients with schizophrenia without an SUD, clozapine use (Finland: aHR 0.20, 95% CI 0.16–0.24, P < 0.001; Sweden: aHR 0.35, 95% CI 0.24–0.50, P < 0.001) was associated with lowest risk of developing an initial SUD in both countries. Antipsychotic polytherapy was associated with second lowest risk (aHR 0.54, 95% CI 0.44–0.66) in Sweden, and third lowest risk (aHR 0.47, 95% CI 0.42–0.53) in Finland. Risk of relapse (psychiatric hospital admission and SUD-related hospital admission) were lowest for clozapine, antipsychotic polytherapy and long-acting injectables in both countries. Results were consistent across both countries.
Clozapine and antipsychotic polytherapy are most strongly associated with reduced risk of developing SUDs among patients with schizophrenia, and with lower relapse rates among patients with both diagnoses.
Cognitive deficits may be characteristic for only a subgroup of first-episode psychosis (FEP) and the link with clinical and functional outcomes is less profound than previously thought. This study aimed to identify cognitive subgroups in a large sample of FEP using a clustering approach with healthy controls as a reference group, subsequently linking cognitive subgroups to clinical and functional outcomes.
204 FEP patients were included. Hierarchical cluster analysis was performed using baseline brief assessment of cognition in schizophrenia (BACS). Cognitive subgroups were compared to 40 controls and linked to longitudinal clinical and functional outcomes (PANSS, GAF, self-reported WHODAS 2.0) up to 12-month follow-up.
Three distinct cognitive clusters emerged: relative to controls, we found one cluster with preserved cognition (n = 76), one moderately impaired cluster (n = 74) and one severely impaired cluster (n = 54). Patients with severely impaired cognition had more severe clinical symptoms at baseline, 6- and 12-month follow-up as compared to patients with preserved cognition. General functioning (GAF) in the severely impaired cluster was significantly lower than in those with preserved cognition at baseline and showed trend-level effects at 6- and 12-month follow-up. No significant differences in self-reported functional outcome (WHODAS 2.0) were present.
Current results demonstrate the existence of three distinct cognitive subgroups, corresponding with clinical outcome at baseline, 6- and 12-month follow-up. Importantly, the cognitively preserved subgroup was larger than the severely impaired group. Early identification of discrete cognitive profiles can offer valuable information about the clinical outcome but may not be relevant in predicting self-reported functional outcomes.
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