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Prognostic value of duration of untreated psychosis in long-term outcome of schizophrenia

Andrzej Cechnicki, Igor Hanuszkiewicz, Romuald Polczyk, Anna Bielańska

Med Sci Monit 2011; 17(5): CR277-283

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.881768

Available online: 2011-04-24

Published: 2011-04-24

Background:    The goal of this prognostic study was to investigate whether the duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) may have a prognostic value with regard to the further course of the illness.
    Material/Methods:    Fifty-eight patients (77% of the original study group) diagnosed with DSM III schizophrenia and later re-diagnosed with DSM IV T-R were assessed at 4 time points. Number of relapses, average time of inpatient treatment, number of inpatient readmissions, and severity of psychopathological symptoms were assessed at 1-, 3-, 7- and 12-year follow-ups. DUP information was obtained by clinical interview with patients and their families. The severity of symptoms was assessed using BPRS-SA, UCLA version.
    Results:    Increases in the number of relapses at follow-ups were more prominent in the group with a longer DUP (p<0.001). Decreases in the results of BPRS (symptom improvement) were more prominent in patients with a shorter DUP. The latter had significantly lower results than patients with a long DUP at each assessment except the index hospitalization (p equalled, respectively: 0.449; 0.002; 0.012; 0.034 and 0.014). Decreases in positive symptoms were greater in patients with a short DUP – significant at all except the 7-year follow-up (p equalled respectively: 0.230; <0.001; 0.011; 0.214; <0.001).
    Conclusions:    1) A positive correlation was found between DUP and the dynamics of general and positive symptoms and the number of relapses. 2) There was no significant relationship between DUP and the dynamics of negative symptoms, whereas the relationship between the time and number of re-hospitalizations was marginally significant.

Keywords: Psychotic Disorders - therapy, Prognosis, Patient Readmission, Demography, Analysis of Variance, Adult, Recurrence, Schizophrenia - therapy, Time Factors