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Does a four-week delay in the introduction of medication alter the course of functional psychosis?

Author(s): Johnstone EC, Owens DG, Crow TJ, Davis JM

Affiliation(s): Department of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, UK. ecj@srv1.med.ed.ac.uk

Publication date & source: 1999, J Psychopharmacol., 13(3):238-44.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

This study is an analysis of findings of a follow-up study of 105 patients with functional psychotic illness who had participated in a random and blind 4-week trial of pimozide, lithium, both and placebo. The intention was to examine the question of whether a 4-week delay in initiating antipsychotic treatment has a detrimental effect 2.5 years later. Detailed follow-up measures included need for care over the 2.5 years, treatments required, occupational decline, police contact, substance misuse, psychopathology and cognitive function. There was no evidence at all that those initially randomized to placebo had a poorer outcome in terms of any of these variables. It is concluded that a 4-week delay in initiating active treatment in patients with functional psychosis has no long-term adverse effects.

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