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Attentional and emotional functioning in schizophrenia patients treated with conventional and atypical antipsychotic drugs

Katarzyna Kucharska-Pietura, Aneta Tylec, Andrzej Czernikiewicz, Ann Mortimer

Med Sci Monit 2012; 18(1): CR44-49

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.882202

Available online: 2011-12-22

Published: 2011-12-22

Background:    Effectiveness of antipsychotics in treating emotional and cognitive deficits in schizophrenia still remains controversial. The aim of our study was to assess emotional and cognitive functioning in schizophrenic inpatients currently treated with typical antipsychotics (perphenazine, perazine, fluphenazine, and haloperidol) and in another group of schizophrenic inpatients currently on atypical antipsychotics (olanzapine, risperidone, amisulpride, and quetiapine).
    Material/Methods:    One hundred patients with DSM-IV schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorders (39 treated using typical antipsychotics and 61 treated with atypical antipsychotics) under naturalistic treatment conditions, and 50 healthy controls were given the following: Test of Everyday Attention, Facial Emotion Recognition Test, Facial Memory Recognition Test, and “Reading the mind in the eyes” Test.
    Results:    Patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia revealed the following deficits: facial emotion perception, empathy /theory of mind, visual selective attention/speed, attentional switching, and auditory-verbal working memory. Our results show a significant difference between schizophrenic and healthy controls in all tasks, with schizophrenic patients performing worse than controls. Interestingly, our patients on atypical neuroleptics performed similarly compared to schizophrenic patients treated with conventional neuroleptics on all tasks provided. There were some significant relationships between emotional and cognitive deficits and clinical variables.
    Conclusions:    Our findings remain consistent with other recent studies in which atypical antipsychotics did not show a clear advantage over typical antipsychotics on both emotional and cognitive functioning.

Keywords: Recognition (Psychology) - physiology, perazine, Perphenazine, Memory - physiology, Haloperidol, Fluphenazine, Emotions - physiology, Dibenzothiazepines, Benzodiazepines, Attention - physiology, Antipsychotic Agents - therapeutic use, Analysis of Variance, Adult, Risperidone, Schizophrenia - physiopathology, Sulpiride - analogs & derivatives