Developing an Individualized Treatment Plan for Patients With Schizoaffective Disorder: From Pharmacotherapy to Psychoeducation

Bipolar Disorders Program and the Clinical Institute of Neuroscience, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, IDIBAPS, CIBERSAM, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 5.14). 01/2010; 71 Suppl 2:14-9. DOI: 10.4088/JCP.9096su1cc.03
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses both psychotic and affective symptoms in patients with schizoaffective disorder, clinicians can take several steps. First, clinicians can confirm the diagnosis. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) and in the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10), schizoaffective disorder is defined differently, but, diagnostically, the disorder falls on a spectrum between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and can be divided into bipolar and depressive types. Next, clinicians can evaluate predictors of outcome. Outcomes can be predicted by previous functioning, number of previous episodes, persistence of psychotic symptoms, and level of cognitive impairment. Then, clinicians can use evidence from clinical trials to guide selection of acute and maintenance phase treatment. Although data are limited, direct and indirect evidence from clinical trials support pharmacologic and psychoeducational interventions. In bipolar type schizoaffective disorder, evidence supports the use of an atypical antipsychotic and a mood stabilizer or atypical antipsychotic monotherapy. In the depressive type of the disorder, the combination of an atypical antipsychotic and an antidepressant is probably the best choice, but an atypical antipsychotic and a mood stabilizer could also be used. In both types of the disorder, patient psychoeducation can be beneficial in the maintenance phase of treatment. Adherence to treatment is essential for optimal outcome, and, besides patient psychoeducation, long-acting injectable antipsychotics and psychoeducation for caregivers may also improve adherence. In refractory cases, electroconvulsive therapy is an option.

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