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Wednesday 01 August 2001

Olanzapine for schizophrenia refractory to typical and atypical antipsychotics: an open-label, prospective trial.

By: Lindenmayer JP, Volavka J, Lieberman J, Sheitman B, Citrome L, Chakos M, Czobor P, Parker B, Iskander A.

J Clin Psychopharmacol 2001 Aug;21(4):448-53

The role of olanzapine in treatment-resistant schizophrenia is still unresolved. This article presents an open-label, prospective, 14-week trial with olanzapine in patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder selected for unambiguous resistance to either clozapine or risperidone and to typical antipsychotics. Forty-three inpatients (mean age, 41.6 years; mean duration of illness, 21.7 years) were enrolled and treated after cross-titration from their previous antipsychotic treatment with olanzapine 10 to 40 mg daily without any concomitant antipsychotic medication. Patients were evaluated with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), the Clinical Global Impressions Scale, and the Extrapyramidal Symptom Rating Scale. The change with olanzapine treatment was associated with a PANSS total score improvement of 3.7 (SD = 15.6; not significant). There was a significant improvement for the PANSS cognitive and depression/anxiety factors, whereas the PANSS excitement factor worsened. The improvement rate was superior in patients receiving olanzapine doses higher than 20 mg. A total of 16.7% of patients reached response criteria set forth by a previous study. There was a significant decrease in extrapyramidal side effects (t = 2.04; p < 0.05) and statistically significant, yet modest, weight gain. These results indicate that olanzapine is only modestly effective in these severely treatment-resistant patients with schizophrenia. However, a trial with olanzapine can be recommended in these patients before moving to augmentation strategies, given the lack of proven alternatives and the observation that 16.7% of patients reached the response criteria.

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