While the names and types of antipsychotics have changed in the past 50 years, there appears to be a constant: they help.
Examining old and new varieties of antipsychotic drugs, a meta-analysis of studies conducted around the world showed that the risk of relapse for individuals living with schizophrenia taking antipsychotic drugs decreased. Relapse, the worsening of symptoms after a period of improvement, is a common occurrence in individuals with schizophrenia.
After one year, relapse rates were 64 percent for people not taking medication, while they were 27 percent for those who did take medication for at least one year. However, the researchers noted that the effectiveness of medication seemed to wane over time.
Data also revealed that those taking antipsychotics were 16 percent less likely to be readmitted for hospitalization. Five studies indicated that individuals taking medication may behave less aggressively and three studies posited that they have a better quality of life than those who are not taking drugs.
By Brendan McLean, NAMI Communications Coordinator