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Review: maintenance antipsychotics prevent relapse in patients with schizophrenia

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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.


Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources: Cochrane Schizophrenia Group Specialised Register (compiled by systematic searches) up to November 2008; Pubmed, EMBASE and 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with schizophrenia, schizoaffective, schizophreniform or delusional disorders who were randomised to continue with or withdrawn from an antipsychotic drug regimen following stabilisation.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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  • Correspondence to: Professor Stefan Leucht, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Technische Universität München, Klinikum rechts der lsar, Munich 81675, Germany;

  • Sources of funding: The German Ministry of Education and Research.

  • ▸ References and Notes available online only at


  • Competing interests None.

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