Recent advances in treating cognitive impairment in schizophrenia

Cherrie Galletly


Schizophrenia is often associated with chronic disability and poor outcome. In addition to positive symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions, and negative symptoms including poverty of speech and blunted affect, schizophrenia is also associated with deficits in cognitive function. It has been increasingly recognized that the severity of cognitive impairment is a major determinant of outcome. Therefore, interventions to improve cognitive function also have the capacity to improve quality of life and social and occupational outcomes. Whilst some of the antipsychotic drugs have shown some selective benefits, there is some controversy about the extent of these benefits. This article provides an overview of research into drugs that might enhance cognition in schizophrenia. Drugs such as modafanil and galantamine are being evaluated, and a number of new drugs are currently in development. Standardized cognitive assessment measures are being developed so studies can be compared more easily. This field is advancing rapidly, but as yet, no widely applicable, evidence-based treatments are available to the clinician.


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