We investigated whether the type of antipsychotic treatment has an impact on patients’ subjective quality of life (QoL).
In a prospective naturalistic long-term study, 374 patients meeting ICD-10 criteria for schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were examined biannually over a two-year period with regards to QoL, psychopathology, social functioning, use of medical and psychosocial services, compliance, side effects and current neuroleptic treatment. QoL was assessed by the Berliner Lebensqualitätsprofil (BeLP), an adaption of the Lancashire Quality of Life Profile. First examination took place two weeks around discharge from a psychiatric clinic. At study entry, all participants were receiving neuroleptic medication of either quetiapine, risperidone or olanzapine. Mixed regression analysis taking into account the unbalanced panel structure of the data and adjusted for selection bias by means of propensity scores were used for data analysis.
Overall quality of life improved continuously during the two years observed period regardless of the type of neuroleptic. A small, but significant difference emerged when comparing quetiapine monotherapy treatment with olanzapine monotherapy or with a combination treatment of conventional and atypical antipsychotics. QoL of patients treated with olanzapine was generally worse than that of patients treated with quetiapine but improved slightly more over the course of time. In total time and type of medication explained only small proportions of variance in QoL.
Type of neuroleptic had only marginal impact on the subjective QoL of our sample. In order to explain changes in quality of life, research on social and individual factors seems to be more promising.