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Around 30% of patients with schizophrenia are considered treatment resistant (TRS). Only around 40% of TRS patients respond to clozapine. Long acting injectable antipsychotics could be a useful augmentation strategy for nonresponders.
We conducted a multicenter, observational, naturalistic, retrospective, 6-month mirror-image study to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of clozapine and paliperidone palmitate association in 50 patients with TRS and other psychotic disorders. Clinical outcomes and side effects were systematically assessed.
Six months after starting the combined treatment, participants showed a significant relief of symptoms, decreasing the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale total score from 18.32 ± 7.71 to 7.84 ± 5.16 (p < 0.001). The number of hospitalizations, the length of hospital stays and the number of visits to emergency services also decreased, while an increase of the functionality was observed (Personal and Social Performance total score increased from 46.06 ± 118.7 to 60.86 ± 18.68, p < 0.001). There was also a significant decrease in the number and severity of side effects with the combination therapy, decreasing the Udvalg for Kliniske Undersogelser total score from 10.76 ± 8.04 to 8.82 ± 6.63 (p = 0.004).
This study provides the first evidence that combining clozapine with paliperidone palmitate in patients with TRS and other psychotic disorders could be effective and safe, suggesting further research with randomized controlled trials of augmentation strategies for clozapine nonresponder patients.
Policy Significance Statement:
Patients with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia show a variable response to antipsychotic treatments. Around 30% of patients are considered treatment resistant, indicated by insufficient symptom control to at least two different drugs. In these resistant cases, clozapine should be indicated, as it has shown to be superior to other options. However, only 40% of patients respond to clozapine, being necessary to establish which treatments could best potentiate clozapine action. Combining clozapine with long acting injectable antipsychotics, and particularly paliperidone palmitate, could be a useful strategy. We conducted a multicenter study of 50 patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders comparing the efficacy and tolerability in the 6 month-period prior and after starting the clozapine and paliperidone palmitate association. Our study suggests that this combination could be effective and safer, laying the groundwork for future clinical trials with this combination.
Observational studies have reported earlier onset of psychosis in schizophrenic patients with a history of cannabis use. Earlier age of onset of schizophrenia has been associated with a poorer outcome. We aimed to examine whether cannabis use determined an earlier onset of schizophrenia in a sample of first episode patients, in an area with one of Europe's highest rates of cannabis use.
116 subjects with first episode psychosis and subsequent diagnosis of schizophrenia (after a 12-month follow-up) were included Age at first antipsychotic treatment (A1T) was used as proxy for age of psychosis onset, and acted as dependent variable for the statistical analysis. Cannabis use was evaluated retrospectively, and divided into three groups according to peak frequency (never, sporadic/frequent, daily).
46 (39.7%) subjects had never used cannabis, 23 (19.9%) had done so sporadically/frequently, and 47 (40.5%) daily. A1T differed between the three groups (mean, in years and [SD]: 27.0 [4.94]; 25.7 [4.44] and 24.5 [4.36]; p = 0.033) and diminished as cannabis use increased (linear tendency; p = 0.009). Post-hoc analysis showed that cannabis use (irrespective of frequency) was significantly associated with decrease in A1T (p = 0.033), as shown by the first contrast [1 −1/2 −1/2]. Post-hoc contrast showed that cannabis users had a significantly lower age of onset of psychosis (mean decrease, in years: 1.93; CI (confidence interval) 95%: 0.17–3.70; p = 0.033).
Cannabis use was significantly associated with a decrease in age of onset of schizophrenia. Age of onset of the disease correlated with frequency of cannabis use.
Some studies suggest individuals with schizophrenia have an increased risk of diabetes prior to antipsychotic use. Small sample sizes and the potential for confounding by hypercortisolaemia have decreased confidence in those results.
To examine diabetes-related factors in newly diagnosed, antipsychotic-naive people with non-affective psychosis.
Participants with psychosis (the psychosis group; n = 50) and matched controls (the control group; n = 50) were given a 2 h oral glucose tolerance test. Fasting concentrations were also determined for adiponectin, interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein.
Compared with the control group, the psychosis group had significant increases in 2 h glucose and interleukin-6 concentrations, and in the prevalence of abnormal glucose tolerance (16% of psychosis group v. 0% of control group). Adiponectin and C-reactive protein concentrations did not differ significantly between the two groups. These findings could not be attributed to differences in cortisol concentrations, smoking, gender, neighbourhood of residence, body mass index, aerobic conditioning, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or age.
Individuals with non-affective psychosis appear to have an increased prevalence of abnormal glucose tolerance prior to antipsychotic treatment, as well as abnormalities in a related inflammatory molecule. These underlying problems may contribute to the metabolic side-effects of antipsychotic medications.
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