CHA News Article

Medications for Patients With First Episode Psychosis May Not Meet Guidelines

Many patients with first-episode psychosis receive medications that do not comply with recommended guidelines for first-episode treatment, according to a new report from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). According to the study, almost 40 percent of people with first-episode psychosis in community mental health clinics across the country might benefit from medication treatment changes. Researchers also note that better medication treatment early in the illness, particularly strategies that minimize uncomfortable side effects, may lead to better results for patients. To improve prescription practices, the authors recommend additional education for those prescribing medication for patients with first-episode psychosis.

The study is among the first of several to report results from the Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) project, developed by NIMH to examine first-episode psychosis before and after specialized treatment was offered in community settings. The RAISE Early Treatment Program team studied 404 individuals between the ages of 15 and 40 with first-episode psychosis who presented for treatment at 34 community-based clinics across 21 states. The study participants had been treated with antipsychotic drugs for six months or less. For more information about the study, visit the NIMH website.