New study demonstrates effectiveness of antipsychotic Pimavanserin for Parkinson’s disease psychosis

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When we think of Parkinson’s disease (PD), hallucinations and delusions are probably not the first symptoms that come to mind. And yet, it is estimated that nearly half of all patients with PD experience psychotic symptoms at one time or another. Although deficits in motor function are seen as the hallmark of PD, it is [read the full story...]

Psychosis and schizophrenia in adults: updated NICE guidance for 2014

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While the organisation’s name may change frequently, currently National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), its role remains constant – to provide clear published guidance on the role of treatment options within the NHS. The publication of new NICE guidance represents a significant event as clinical recommendations shape the nature of provided care nationally [read the full story...]

Pilot study suggests that CBT may be a viable alternative to antipsychotics for people with schizophrenia, or does it?

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People with schizophrenia stop taking their antipsychotics for a wide range of reasons (e.g. debilitating side effects or a belief that they will not help them), but when they do health professionals often find it extremely difficult to care for these patients, because the alternative treatment options available to them are very limited. Of course, [read the full story...]

Cochrane review finds that haloperidol is an effective antipsychotic, but its side effects can be problematic

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Schizophrenia is a serious disorder characterised by delusions (including paranoid beliefs and hallucinations) and other symptoms such as blunted affect and reduced motivation. While relatively uncommon (lifetime prevalence is less than 1%), it is associated with serious social impairment (e.g., unemployment, homelessness), which in turn can result in physical health problems. As a result, the [read the full story...]

Long term maintenance treatment with antipsychotics: a cautionary note from recent research

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The support of individuals with experience of psychosis is complex and relies on a combination of psychopharmacology (antipsychotic drugs), psychological therapies and social interventions. Antipsychotics will often be the first line treatment offered, with the intention of reducing psychotic symptom burden. Following the resolution of immediate symptoms the role of antipsychotics becomes less clear; should [read the full story...]

Atypical antipsychotics no better than typicals for adolescents with psychosis, but atypicals may have fewer short-term side effects

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Schizophrenia is a serious neurodevelopmental disorder that often starts during adolescence. Current treatment guidelines (NICE, 2013) recommend atypical antipsychotics for adolescents with this condition, but this is based largely on studies of adults with the condition. The Cochrane Schizophrenia Group conducted this systematic review to synthesise the current evidence base for atypical antipsychotic medication in [read the full story...]

New Cochrane review finds weak evidence that drug combinations are more effective than monotherapy in psychotic depression

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Major depression remains a serious condition that often proves refractory to pharmacological or psychotherapeutic interventions. Because depression can have many “faces”, clinicians should be aware of the great symptom variability among depressed patients and consider subforms when prescribing medication.  In a sizeable amount of patients (up to 25%, Coryell et al., 1984), depression presents with [read the full story...]

If I pay you, will you have your injection?

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Getting patients to take their medication as prescribed is notoriously difficult. Regardless of condition only about 50% of patients adhere to prescribed regimes. This is particularly the case in chronic or complex conditions worldwide and improving this problem has the potential to save considerable health burden and costs. Adherence in mental health is no different. [read the full story...]

Newer antipsychotics may increase the risk of pneumonia in schizophrenia

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Because of a more favourable side effects profile (not necessarily clinical superiority), second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) are today the most commonly used drugs to treat psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia (Jones et al., 2006). While rather frequent adverse reactions, including weight gain, diabetes or sedation, are largely recognised, recent studies point at increased risk of pneumonia [read the full story...]

Do antipsychotics cause progressive brain changes in schizophrenia?

People with schizophrenia taking antipsychotics saw a reduction in grey matter

For over 30 years researchers have found that people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia have, on average, differences on brain scans compared to people without.  Not everybody with a diagnosis of schizophrenia will have these differences and it has not yet been possible to use brain scanning as a test to work out whether someone [read the full story...]