Drugs that “work” – the bigger picture

Heroes Not Zombies

I was struck by a recent study looking at how much psychosis patients with schizophrenia (SZ) experience on anti-psychotics.

At each follow-up assessment over the 20 years, a surprisingly high percentage of SZ treated with antipsychotics longitudinally had psychotic activity. More than 70% of SZ continuously prescribed antipsychotics experienced psychotic activity at four or more of six follow-up assessments over 20 years. Longitudinally, SZ not prescribed antipsychotics showed significantly less psychotic activity than those prescribed antipsychotics . . . the condition of the majority of SZ prescribed antipsychotics for multiple years would raise questions as to how many of them are truly in remission.

In other words, not only do most patients with schizophrenia who are prescribed anti-psychotics continue to experience psychosis, but those who aren’t prescribed them experienced “significantly less psychotic activity”. What makes this study particularly unusual is that it was conducted over 20 years. This is highly unusual…

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