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Review: patient education is effective for improving patient knowledge of schizophrenia

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QUESTION: In patients with schizophrenia, does patient education improve knowledge, compliance, relapse, symptoms, social function, insight, and satisfaction?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching Medline (1966–97), EMBASE/Excerpta Medica (1987–97), PsycLIT (1974–96), and CINAHL (1982–97) and by scanning reference lists of relevant articles.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of patient education in patients with schizophrenia (category A). Supplementary data were taken from naturalistic studies of patient education in patients with schizophrenia (category B) and RCTs of patient education in mixed samples (category C). Studies were excluded if they used complex interventions involving mainly social skills training and psychotherapy, or family intervention with educational programmes.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on patient characteristics, type of intervention, number of sessions, length of follow up, results, and study methods.

Main results

7 RCTs (category A), 4 naturalistic studies (category B), and 8 RCTs (category C) met the selection criteria. The 7 category A RCTs had sample sizes of 20–236 patients (mean 82 patients). Follow up ranged from 3 weeks to 2 years. 3 RCTs included an element of training that ranged from a 1 hour counselling intervention on how to tailor the prescribed regimen to a medication module for 3 hours weekly for 2–3 months. 1 RCT had a brief training element on relapse prevention. 1 RCT compared behavioural training …

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