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Review: maintenance antipsychotics prevent relapse in patients with schizophrenia

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Question

Question: Are antipsychotics effective in preventing relapse for patients with schizophrenia?

Outcomes: Primary outcomes include relapse (as defined in each study) between 7 and 12 months. Secondary outcomes include readmission, dropout, improvement of disease, death, violence or aggressive behaviour, adverse events, quality of life, satisfaction with care and employment.

Methods

Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources: Cochrane Schizophrenia Group Specialised Register (compiled by systematic searches) up to November 2008; Pubmed, EMBASE and ClinicalTrials.gov up to June 2011. Pharmaceutical companies that produced second generation antipsychotics were contacted and reference lists of included studies and reviews were hand searched.

Study selection and analysis: To be eligible for inclusion studies had to (1) be described as randomised or have adequate randomisation and allocation concealment methods; (2) include antipsychotic drugs of any dose, compound or route of administration available in at least one country; (3) include patients with schizophrenia, schizoaffective, schizophreniform or delusional disorders who were randomised to continue with or withdrawn from an antipsychotic drug regimen following stabilisation. Exclusion criteria include quasi-randomised and non-randomised studies, intermittent treatment and non-standardised diagnostic criteria. No minimum study duration was set and no language restrictions applied. Random …

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