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Antipsychotic treatment maintenance reduces risk of relapse in FEP patients

13 Jul 2018

Patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP) may benefit from continuing their antipsychotic treatment, with a recent study showing that treatment maintenance protects against relapse risk, whereas discontinuation for 2 months increases the risk.

Researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing FEP relapse rates between antipsychotic treatment discontinuation and maintenance groups at 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 12 (primary), and 18–24 months.

A total of 10 RCTs, involving 776 FEP patients with a mean study duration of 18.6 months, were included. Of these, four RCTs had the antipsychotics discontinued abruptly. The remaining six RCTs had treatment ceased after tapering off gradually over several months.

Relapses occurred with significantly greater frequency in the discontinuation group than in the maintenance group. This was true at all time points except at 1 month (2 months: risk ratio [RR], 0.49; 3 months: RR, 0.46; 6 months: RR, 0.55; 9 months: RR, 0.48; 12 months: RR, 0.47; 18–24 months: RR, 0.57).

However, maintenance treatment was associated with a nonsignificant increase in the risk of discontinuation due to adverse events (RR, 2.61).

Although it appears that maintaining antipsychotic treatment is beneficial for preventing relapses for at least 2 years in remitted/stable FEP patients, it remains unclear whether this would be the case for longer than 2 years, researchers said.

There are currently no clinical measures or biomarkers that may facilitate identification of remitted/stable FEP patients who are not at risk of relapse after discontinuation of their antipsychotic treatment, they added. More work is needed to establish these predictive biomarkers to aid in decision-making and a personalized medicine approach.

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Most Read Articles
Dr. Joseph Delano Fule Robles, 17 Jan 2018

A recent study by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University has identified insufficient services and accommodation, non-standardized cognitive screening and lack of intervention to delay cognitive and health deterioration as issues faced by ageing patients with intellectual disability in Hong Kong. 

27 Dec 2017
Persistent symptoms, comorbidities, and financial challenges appear to be important factors affecting health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in geriatric cancer patients, a recent study has shown.
4 days ago
Patients with rare cancers have worse psychosocial and quality of life outcomes compared with the general population of cancer patients, a recent study has shown.