Some of you might remember the report released last year saying that an older medication Trilafon was just as effective as the new MUCH more expensive medications. Even though NIMH commented later that the research did not support that belief, many Medicaid programs wrote the new medications out of their formularies. A follow-up to this research has reinforced the fact that most psychiatrists already know. Each person’s body chemistry responds uniquely to each medication. The full range of medicaitons are required to find an effective choice. Besides, the side effect profile is much better for the newer medications. The permanent neurological damage evidenced by tardive dyskinesia too often caused by the older medications were often an unacceptable consequence of appropriate treatment. People shouldn’t have to choose one scourge for another, especially if it’s not necessary. NAMI
Phase II of CATIE strongly reinforces the individualized nature of treatment for schizophrenia. There are a multitude of clinical factors that impact on specific medications that should be prescribed to specific individuals. Most importantly, access to a range of antipsychotic medications must be protected. When it comes to the treatment of schizophrenia, there is no one size that fits all. The results in Phase II also illustrate the critical need for a new generation of research to find medications for schizophrenia that are both more effective and have fewer side effects. Although existing medications clearly benefit many people, there are also many who continue to struggle with symptoms despite taking medications and others who experience side effects so serious that they ultimately choose to stop treatment. I will keep my eyes open for the release of the report on the NIMH website. If anyone else finds it, let me know.