Prospective comparison of course of disability in antipsychotic-treated and untreated schizophrenia patients

J. Thirthalli, Venkatesh Basappa Krishnamurthy, K. V. Kishorekumar, U. Arunachala, G. Venkatasubramanian, D. K. Subbakrishna, B. N. Gangadhar

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52 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare the course of disability in schizophrenia patients receiving antipsychotics and those remaining untreated in a rural community. Method: Of 215 schizophrenia patients identified in a rural south Indian community, 58% were not receiving antipsychotics. Trained raters assessed the disability in 190 of these at baseline and after 1 year. The course of disability in those who remained untreated was compared with that in those who received antipsychotics. Results: Mean disability scores remained virtually unchanged in those who remained untreated, but showed a significant decline (indicating decrement in disability) in those who continued to receive antipsychotics and in those in whom antipsychotic treatment was initiated (P < 0.001; group × occasion effect). The proportion of patients classified as 'disabled' declined significantly in the treated group (P < 0.01), but remained the same in the untreated group. Conclusion: Disability in untreated schizophrenia patients remains unchanged over time. Treatment with antipsychotics in the community results in a considerable reduction in disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-217
Number of pages9
JournalActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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