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The general public is familiar with weather forecasts and their utility, and the field of weather forecasting is well-established. Even the theoretical limit of the weather forecasting – two weeks – is known. In contrast, familiarity with climate prediction is low outside of the research field, the theoretical basis is not fully established, and we do not know the extent to which climate can be predicted. Variations in climate, however, can have large societal and economic consequences, as they can lead to droughts and floods, and spells of extreme hot and cold weather. Thus, improving our capabilities to predict climate is important and urgent, as it can enhance climate services and thereby contribute to the sustainable development of humans in this era of climate change.
Understanding the patterns of treatment response is critical for the treatment of patients with schizophrenia; one way to achieve this is through using a longitudinal dynamic process study design.
This study aims to explore the response trajectory of antipsychotics and compare the treatment responses of seven different antipsychotics over 6 weeks in patients with schizoprenia (trial registration: Chinese Clinical Trials Registry Identifier: ChiCTR-TRC-10000934).
Data were collected from a multicentre, randomised open-label clinical trial. Patients were evaluated with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) at baseline and follow-up at weeks 2, 4 and 6. Trajectory groups were classified by the method of k-means cluster modelling for longitudinal data. Trajectory analyses were also employed for the seven antipsychotic groups.
The early treatment response trajectories were classified into a high-trajectory group of better responders and a low-trajectory group of worse responders. The results of trajectory analysis showed differences compared with the classification method characterised by a 50% reduction in PANSS scores at week 6. A total of 349 patients were inconsistently grouped by the two methods, with a significant difference in the composition ratio of treatment response groups using these two methods (χ2 = 43.37, P < 0.001). There was no differential contribution of high- and low trajectories to different drugs (χ2 = 12.52, P = 0.051); olanzapine and risperidone, which had a larger proportion in the >50% reduction at week 6, performed better than aripiprazole, quetiapine, ziprasidone and perphenazine.
The trajectory analysis of treatment response to schizophrenia revealed two distinct trajectories. Comparing the treatment responses to different antipsychotics through longitudinal analysis may offer a new perspective for evaluating antipsychotics.
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