Timely Treatment = Better Prognosis

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A new study of first-episode psychosis has found that the longer patients are untreated following an initial episode, the longer it takes them to respond to treatment once it begins.

A team of researchers from the University of Cantabria in Spain followed 153 patients who underwent treatment following a first psychotic break (“Delayed psychosis treatment harms chance of success,” a research summary from News.Medical.net, April 29; not yet available online). Patients who achieved remission within a year of starting treatment had an average duration of untreated psychosis of 8.8 months.

Patients who did not experience remission within a year were, on average, psychotic for 15.6 months before treatment began.

The researchers found that three factors predicted remission:

1. Duration of the untreated psychosis;

2. Severity of negative symptoms;

3. No education beyond primary school.

“Early intervention clinical programs should aim to reduce the length of DUP [duration of untreated psychosis] in order to provide a better outcome for patients,” according to author Benedicto Crespo-Facorro. The authors also identified the lack of effective medications for negative symptoms as “a major unmet need in schizophrenia treatment.”

by Treatment Advocacy Center

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