Clozapine for the treatment-resistant schizophrenic. A double-blind comparison with chlorpromazine

Archives of General Psychiatry
J KaneH Meltzer

Abstract

The treatment of schizophrenic patients who fail to respond to adequate trials of neuroleptics is a major challenge. Clozapine, an atypical antipsychotic drug, has long been of scientific interest, but its clinical development has been delayed because of an associated risk of agranulocytosis. This report describes a multicenter clinical trial to assess clozapine's efficacy in the treatment of patients who are refractory to neuroleptics. DSM-III schizophrenics who had failed to respond to at least three different neuroleptics underwent a prospective, single-blind trial of haloperidol (mean dosage, 61 +/- 14 mg/d) for six weeks. Patients whose condition remained unimproved were then randomly assigned, in a double-blind manner, to clozapine (up to 900 mg/d) or chlorpromazine (up to 1800 mg/d) for six weeks. Two hundred sixty-eight patients were entered in the double-blind comparison. When a priori criteria were used, 30% of the clozapine-treated patients were categorized as responders compared with 4% of chlorpromazine-treated patients. Clozapine produced significantly greater improvement on the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, Clinical Global Impression Scale, and Nurses' Observation Scale for Inpatient Evaluation; this improvemen...Continue Reading

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