In this activity, Dr. Stephen M. Stahl discusses the importance of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia and strategies to maximize treatment adherence for more positive functional outcomes.
The following unmet needs regarding schizophrenia were revealed following a critical analysis of expert faculty assessment, literature review, and through new medical knowledge:
* Schizophrenia is a debilitating disorder associated with poor quality of life, low remission rates, and huge adherence issues.
* Cognitive impairment is severe and pervasive in the schizophrenia population and tends to be independent of other clinical symptoms, yet is not currently a diagnostic requirement.
* Several new medications are soon to be introduced, and research into additional new treatment methods is ongoing; clinicians need to be educated on these new treatment strategies as data accumulate so that they are prepared to implement these tools once they become available.
To help fill these unmet needs, quality improvement efforts need to (1) provide education regarding cognitive impairment in schizophrenia, including current research on its biology and pharmacology, proposals for its inclusion in DSM-V, and clinical guidance on how it should be measured and differentiated from negative symptoms; (2) provide education regarding optimization of treatment strategies for schizophrenia, including consideration of minimizing side effects and maximizing adherence; (3) provide education regarding new treatment strategies for schizophrenia, including novel mechanisms of action, and how these new options can help fill unmet needs within the current treatment of schizophrenia.
Upon completion of this activity, participants should be better able to:
1. Recognize the importance of cognitive factors in schizophrenia, including evolving new diagnostic criteria and methods for assessing cognition in clinical practice.
2. Differentiate antipsychotic drug treatments from each other on the basis of pharmacologic mechanisms and evidence-based clinical trial results.
3. Implement evidence-based treatment strategies that maximize adherence and patient outcomes.
4. Combine practical experience with evolving new evidence in order to integrate new and soon-to-be introduced treatments into clinical practice.
Stephen M. Stahl, MD, PhD
Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine; Honorary Visiting Senior Fellow, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Medscape Education Psychiatry and Mental Health
CME Released: 02/07/2011; Valid for credit through 02/07/2012