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Adding a psychosocial intervention to antipsychotic medication reduces treatment discontinuation and relapse

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Is it more effective to treat early stage schizophrenia with a combination of antipsychotic medication and psychosocial invention, compared with medication alone?


1268 people (16–50 years old) with early stage DSM-IV schizophrenia or schizophreniform disorder diagnosed in the past 5 years. Participants were receiving treatment with one of seven specified antipsychotics and living with family members who could be involved in their care.


10 outpatient clinics in China; January 2005 to October 2007.


Antipsychotic medication alone compared with antipsychotic medication plus psychosocial intervention for 12 months. The intervention comprised psychoeducation, family intervention, skills training and CBT, each delivered as a 1 h session every month.


Primary outcomes: Treatment discontinuation or change, and time to treatment discontinuation. Secondary outcomes: Adherence (defined as taking ≥70% of medications), relapse (defined as any one of psychiatric hospitalisation, increase in level of care needed plus ≥25% increase in Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total score, Clinical Global Impressions Scale score of much or very much worse, deliberate self injury, clinically significant suicidal …

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  • Sources of funding National Key Technologies R&D Programme of China, National Natural Science Foundation of China, National Basic Research Programme of China.


  • Competing interests None.

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