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Aim was to evaluate influencing factors of response and symptomatic remission in first-episode schizophrenia patients treated with risperidone or haloperidol.
229 first-episode schizophrenic patients were examined within a double blind controlled trial of the German Study Group on first-episode schizophrenia with biweekly PANSS ratings. Response was defined according to the definition by Lieberman et al. (2003) and symptomatic remission as the severity component of the consensus remission criteria by the Remission in Schizophrenia Working Group. Sociodemographic, psychopathological and functional variables as well as the treatment applied were evaluated regarding their potential predictive validity for treatment outcome. Univariate tests, logistic regression and CART-analyses were consulted as statistical methods.
126 patients (55%) achieved response and 118 patients (52%) symptomatic remission at discharge with no significant differences between the risperidone (51%) and haloperidol (49%) treated patients. Better baseline functioning, early treatment response, less depressive symptoms and a shorter duration of untreated psychosis were revealed significant predictors of response. Patients with symptomatic remission also had a significantly shorter duration of untreated psychosis and significantly less depressive symptoms at baseline. Logistic regression and CART-analyses revealed low general psychopathology, early treatment response and a high score in the Strauss-Carpenter-Prognostic-Scale at admission to be significantly positive predictive for symptomatic resolution.
Early treatment response, depressive symptoms and the level of psychosocial functioning were revealed to significantly predict outcome, with no significant differences between risperidone and haloperidol. The importance of an early adequate symptom control and the implementation of early intervention programs is highlighted.
Atypical antipsychotics are a new treatment option for patients with impaired impulse regulation as seen in Cluster B personality disorders. Preliminary data are available on the use of atypical antipsychotics especially in the treatment of impulsivity in borderline personality disorder. The aim of the present study is to investigate efficacy regarding impaired impulse regulation, different psychopathological symptoms and tolerability of quetiapine in a group of patients with Cluster B personality disorder.
Fifteen consecutive patients with a DSM-IV diagnosis of borderline, histrionic, or narcissistic personality disorder were treated for 8 weeks with open-label quetiapine at the dose of 400 mg/day. Patients were assessed at baseline, week 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and week 8. The clinical efficacy and side effects were assessed using the following scales: Hamilton Scales for Depression (HAM-D) and Anxiety (HAMD-A), Beck-Depression Inventory (BDI), Barratt Impulsivity Scale version 10 (BIS-10), Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), and the Dosage Record and Treatment Emergent Symptom Scale (DOTES).
Twelve patients completed the study. Three patients (20%) dropped out due to noncompliance. A significant improvement was found for the scores of the following scales: BPRS (anxiety/depression subscale), HAM-D, and BDI. No significant result was found for impaired impulse regulation. Common adverse effects, possibly due to study medication, were mild-to-moderate somnolence, mouth dryness, agitation, nausea, and dizziness.
An 8 week open label treatment with 400mg quetiapine daily seems to improve depressive and anxiety, but not impulsivity symptoms in cluster-B personality disorders.
To assess whether therapy with two widely used antidepressants influences platelet counts.
Subjects and methods
In 90 patients hospitalized for treatment of a major depressive episode according to DSM-IV, platelet counts were performed after a 6 d antidepressant-free run-in period and again after 35 d of active standardized treatment with amitriptyline (n = 40) or paroxetine (n = 50).
There was a trend for platelet counts to increase during treatment with amitriptyline (from 245.5 ± 68.6 to 256.8 ± 69 cells × 109 L-1, P < 0.06); no change was observed during treatment with paroxetine (from 232.6 ± 58.3 to 234.6 ± 68.9 cells × 109 L-1, n.s).
Treatment with amitriptyline tends to be associated with elevated platelet counts. The cause for this increase is not known, but may be relevant in terms of patients’ long-term thromboembolic risk.
Purpose of this study was to assess subjective well-being in schizophrenia inpatients and to find variables predictive for response and remission of subjective well-being.
The subjective well-being under neuroleptic treatment scale (SWN-K) was used in 232 schizophrenia patients within a naturalistic multicenter trial. Early response was defined as a SWN-K total score improvement of 20% and by at least 10 points within the first 2 treatment weeks, response as an improvement in SWN-K total score of at least 20% and by at least 10 points from admission to discharge and remission in subjective well-being as a total score of more or equal to 80 points at discharge. Logistic regression and CART analyses were used to determine valid predictors of subjective well-being outcome.
Twenty-nine percent of the patients were detected to be SWN-K early responders, 40% fulfilled criteria for response in subjective well-being and 66% fulfilled criteria for remission concerning subjective well-being. Among the investigated predictors, SWN-K early improvement and the educational status were significantly associated with SWN-K response. The SWN-K total score at baseline showed a significant negative predictive value for response. Baseline SWN-K total score, PANSS global subscore, and side effects as well as the educational status were found to be significantly predictive for remission.
Depressive symptoms should be radically treated and side effects closely monitored to improve the patient's subjective well-being. The important influence of subjective well-being on overall treatment outcome could be underlined.
To examine the predictive validity of early improvement in a naturalistic sample of inpatients and to identify the criterion that best defines early improvement.
Two hundred and forty-seven inpatients who fulfilled ICD-10 criteria for schizophrenia were assessed with the Positive And Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) at admission and at biweekly intervals until discharge from hospital. Remission was defined according to the recently proposed consensus criteria, response as a reduction of at least 40% in the PANNS total score from admission to discharge.
Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses showed that early improvement (reduction of the PANSS total score within the first 2 weeks of treatment) predicts remission (AUC = 0.659) and response (AUC = 0.737) at discharge. A 20% reduction in the PANSS total score within the first 2 weeks was the most accurate cut-off for the prediction of remission (total accuracy: 65%; sensitivity: 53%; specificity: 76%), and a 30% reduction the most accurate cut-off for the prediction of response (total accuracy: 76%; sensitivity: 47%; specificity: 90%).
The findings of clinical drug trials that early improvement is a predictor of subsequent treatment response were replicated in a naturalistic sample. Further studies should examine whether patients without early improvement benefit from an early change of antipsychotic medication.
Self-ratings of psychotic experiences might be biased by depressive symptoms.
Data from a large naturalistic multicentre trial on depressed inpatients (n = 488) who were assessed on a biweekly basis until discharge were analyzed. Self-rated psychotic symptoms as assessed with the 90-Item Symptom Checklist (SCL-90) were correlated with the SCL-90 total score, the SCL-90 depression score, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale 21 item (HAMD-21) total score, the Montgomery Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) total score and the clinician-rated paranoid-hallucinatory score of the Association for Methodology and Documentation in Psychiatry (AMDP) scale.
At discharge the SCL-90 psychosis score correlated highest with the SCL-90 depression score (0.78, P<0.001) and with the BDI total score (0.64, P<0.001). Moderate correlations were found for the MADRS (0.34, P<0.001), HAMD (0.37, P<0.001) and AMDP depression score (0.33, P<0.001). Only a weak correlation was found between the SCL-90 psychosis score and the AMDP paranoid-hallucinatory syndrome score (0.15, P<0.001). Linear regression showed that change in self-rated psychotic symptoms over the treatment course was best explained by a change in the SCL-90 depression score (P<0.001). The change in clinician-rated AMDP paranoid-hallucinatory score had lesser influence (P = 0.02).
In depressed patients self-rated psychotic symptoms correlate poorly with clinician-rated psychotic symptoms. Caution is warranted when interpreting results from epidemiological surveys using self-rated psychotic symptom questionnaires as indicators of psychotic symptoms. Depressive symptoms which are highly prevalent in the general population might influence such self-ratings.
Aim was to examine depressive symptoms in acutely ill schizophrenia patients on a single symptom basis and to evaluate their relationship with positive, negative and general psychopathological symptoms.
Two hundred and seventy-eight patients suffering from a schizophrenia spectrum disorder were analysed within a naturalistic study by the German Research Network on Schizophrenia. Using the Calgary Depression Scale for Schizophrenia (CDSS) depressive symptoms were examined and the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) was applied to assess positive, negative and general symptoms. Correlation and factor analyses were calculated to detect the underlying structure and relationship of the patient’s symptoms.
The most prevalent depressive symptoms identified were depressed mood (80%), observed depression (62%) and hopelessness (54%). Thirty-nine percent of the patients suffered from depressive symptoms when applying the recommended cut-off of a CDSS total score of > 6 points at admission. Negligible correlations were found between depressive and positive symptoms as well as most PANSS negative and global symptoms despite items on depression, guilt and social withdrawal. The factor analysis revealed that the factor loading with the PANSS negative items accounted for most of the data variance followed by a factor with positive symptoms and three depression-associated factors.
The naturalistic study design does not allow a sufficient control of study results for the effect of different pharmacological treatments possibly influencing the appearance of depressive symptoms.
Results suggest that depressive symptoms measured with the CDSS are a discrete symptom domain with only partial overlap with positive or negative symptoms.
To analyse insight of illness during the course of inpatient treatment, and to identify influencing factors and predictors of insight.
Insight into illness was examined in 399 patients using the item G12 of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (“lack of insight and judgement”). Ratings of the PANSS, HAMD, UKU, GAF, SOFAS, SWN-K and Kemp's compliance scale were performed and examined regarding their potential association with insight. The item G12 was kept as an ordinal variable to compare insight between subgroups of patients.
Almost 70% of patients had deficits in their insight into illness at admission. A significant improvement of impairments of insight during the treatment (p<0.0001) was observed. At admission more severe positive and negative symptoms, worse functioning and worse adherence were significantly associated with poorer insight. Less depressive symptoms (p = 0.0004), less suicidality (p = 0.0218), suffering from multiple illness-episodes (p<0.0001) and worse adherence (p = 0.0012) at admission were identified to be significant predictors of poor insight at discharge.
The revealed predictors might function as treatment targets in order to improve insight and with it outcome of schizophrenia.
Early improvement with treatment is thought to be important in patients with first-episode schizophrenia, yet a valid definition is still outstanding.
To develop a valid definition of early improvement and test its predictive validity regarding response and remission.
We examined 188 in-patients with first-episode schizophrenia. Early improvement was defined as improvement in Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total score at week 2, response as a 40% PANSS total score improvement at end-point, and remission according to consensus criteria.
Reasonable predictive validity of early improvement was found for a 46% PANSS total score improvement at week 2 and a 50% improvement for remission (area under the curve: response 0.707, remission 0.692). Estimated confidence intervals ranged from 26 to 62% PANSS reduction for response and remission.
Patients with a first episode of schizophrenia should improve by at least 30% in PANSS total score at week 2 to achieve response and remission.
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) therapy is associated with a decrease in seizure frequency in partial-onset seizure patients. Initial trials suggest that it may be an effective treatment, with few side-effects, for intractable depression.
An open, uncontrolled European multi-centre study (D03) of VNS therapy was conducted, in addition to stable pharmacotherapy, in 74 patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Treatment remained unchanged for the first 3 months; in the subsequent 9 months, medications and VNS dosing parameters were altered as indicated clinically.
The baseline 28-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD-28) score averaged 34. After 3 months of VNS, response rates (⩾50% reduction in baseline scores) reached 37% and remission rates (HAMD-28 score <10) 17%. Response rates increased to 53% after 1 year of VNS, and remission rates reached 33%. Response was defined as sustained if no relapse occurred during the first year of VNS after response onset; 44% of patients met these criteria. Median time to response was 9 months. Most frequent side-effects were voice alteration (63% at 3 months of stimulation) and coughing (23%).
VNS therapy was effective in reducing severity of depression; efficacy increased over time. Efficacy ratings were in the same range as those previously reported from a USA study using a similar protocol; at 12 months, reduction of symptom severity was significantly higher in the European sample. This might be explained by a small but significant difference in the baseline HAMD-28 score and the lower number of treatments in the current episode in the European study.
Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) measurements of four electrochemically etched, porous silicon (PS) samples have been performed over a wide wavevector transfer (Q) range. The intermediate to high Q results can be modeled with a non-particulate, random phase model. Correlation length scales on the order of 1 to 2 nm thought to characterize the PS skeleton have been deduced from the SANS data. The microstructural anisotropy was studied tilting two of the samples with respect to the neutron beam. These samples exhibited an asymmetric scattering pattern at intermediate Q (0.1 ≤ Q ≥ 0.6 nm-1) in this condition. Photoluminescence spectra from all four samples have been recorded as well. A correlation appears to exist between the SANS and photoluminescence measurements. An x-ray diffraction measurement of one sample demonstrates that the PS layer retains the silicon lattice structure. Significant peak broadening is observed that we interpreted as a quasi-particle size effect The PS particle size calculated from the x-ray diffraction measurement is equal to the correlation length obtained in the SANS measurement.
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