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Comparison of Medication Treatments for Adolescents with Schizophrenia

Posted Oct 03 2008 12:52pm

Here is a link to an article that reviews a recent study regarding psychotropic treatment of kids with schizophrenia. The article notes that by far most of the research into the treatment of schizophrenia has focused on adults, so determining what medications work best for adolescents is an area requiring further study. The article also notes just how devastating a condition schizophrenia can be:

Dr. Kumra discusses this patient population: "The majority of these youth had histories of multiple hospitalizations, extreme violence, suicidality and trauma prior to study enrollment. Without appropriate intervention it is likely that many would have ended up in long-term care institutions, psychiatric prison settings, and/or experienced early death from drug use, violence, or suicide."

The study looked at 39 adolescents age 10-18, who had not previously responded to pharmacological treatment. The clients received either clozapine or “high dosage” olanzapine (higher than the insert recommendations). The study found that the clozapine was almost twice as likely to produce a positive treatment response as the olanzapine:

“Both positive symptoms (psychosis) and negative symptoms (blunted emotional response, reduced motivation) responded better to clozapine. John H. Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry and affiliated with both Yale University School of Medicine and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, comments on the findings: "Olanzapine is among the most effective antipsychotic medications, so the distinctive effectiveness of clozapine in this study could be very important."

I post studies like this when I come across them not because I work with this population all that frequently (I don’t), but because I think any kind of progress in understanding how to treat schizophrenia is excellent news.

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