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A translational research approach to poor treatment response in patients with schizophrenia: clozapine-antipsychotic polypharmacy

A translational research approach to poor treatment response in patients with schizophrenia: clozapine-antipsychotic polypharmacy

Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience 34(6): 433-442

Poor treatment response in patients with schizophrenia is an important clinical problem, and one possible strategy is concurrent treatment with more than one antipsychotic (polypharmacy). We analyzed the evidence base for this strategy using a translational research model focused on clozapine-antipsychotic polypharmacy (CAP). We considered 3 aspects of the existing knowledge base and translational research: the link between basic science and clinical studies of efficacy, the evidence for effectiveness in clinical research and the implications of research for the health care delivery system. Although a rationale for CAP can be developed from receptor pharmacology, there is little available preclinical research testing these concepts in animal models. Randomized clinical trials of CAP show minimal or no benefit for overall severity of symptoms. Most studies at the level of health services are limited to estimates of CAP prevalence and some suggestion of increased costs. Increasing use of antipsychotic polypharmacy in general may be a factor contributing to the under-utilization of clozapine and long delays in initiating clozapine monotherapy. Translational research models can be applied to clinical questions such as the value of CAP. Better linkage between the components of translational research may improve the appropriate use of medications such as clozapine in psychiatric practice.

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Accession: 051278967

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PMID: 19949719

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