• Correlates of psychopharmacologic treatment outcomes for schizophrenia

      Kreyenbuhl, Julie Anne; Zito, Julie Magno (1999)
      Schizophrenia is a severe and persistent mental illness that affects upwards of two million Americans and its treatment is estimated to cost {dollar}32 billion annually. Although pharmacotherapy represents the mainstay of treatment for schizophrenia, recent pharmacoepidemiologic data on practice patterns in large U.S. populations are limited. To address this need, a study was conducted with the following aims: (1) to characterize the patterns of pharmacologic management of schizophrenia and its demographic and clinical correlates in typical clinical practice settings; (2) to develop analytic models to examine the associations between characteristics of drug therapy and outcomes; and (3) to look for evidence of behavioral toxicity of antipsychotic medications. The data from this study were derived from a patient survey supplemented with medical record information of 719 participants recruited from inpatient and outpatient psychiatric facilities in two states for the Schizophrenia Patient Outcomes Research Team (PORT) study. The final study samples consisted of 224 inpatients and 358 outpatients that met eligibility criteria and had valid medical record data. Ethnic disparities in prescribing were identified, such that non-white patients received fewer newer antipsychotic medications, more long-acting injectable (depot) antipsychotic medications, higher average daily antipsychotic doses, and fewer adjunctive medications than their white counterparts, regardless of treatment setting. Geographic variations in prescribing patterns, in which newer antipsychotics and adjunctive medications (inpatients only) were prescribed more frequently in rural areas of State A and in urban areas of State B, and depot antipsychotics were prescribed more often in urban areas of State A and rural areas of State B, were also noted. The hypothesized model of an indirect relationship among pharmacotherapy and outcomes variables (functioning and satisfaction) that is mediated by symptoms and medication side effects was not supported by the data in either treatment setting. Also, evidence of behavioral toxicity of antipsychotics was not identified. Pronounced variations in the pharmacologic management of schizophrenia were revealed. Investigations of the outcomes of pharmacotherapy and the behavioral toxicity of antipsychotic medications should be undertaken, utilizing different measurement scales and a prospective, longitudinal study design.