Current issues in schizophrenia: overview of patient acceptability, functioning capacity and quality of life.

Centre for Psychosocial Medicine, Department for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany.
CNS Drugs (Impact Factor: 4.38). 02/2004; 18 Suppl 2:5-17; discussion 41-3.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The increasing interest in the subjective wellbeing and quality of life (QoL) of patients with schizophrenia represents a conceptual extension of therapeutic outcome criteria. For a long time, the reduction of positive symptoms alone was the most important outcome parameter, but the development of atypical antipsychotic drugs in the early 1990s resulted in the adoption of more wide-reaching measures of therapeutic outcome. Patient satisfaction appears to be strongly related to their willingness to be or stay engaged in psychosocial and pharmacological treatment, and therefore to the symptomatic and functional outcome. Existing studies that deal with QoL and subjective wellbeing differ in their methodology and are difficult to compare because of varying underlying concepts of QoL or subjective wellbeing, different assessment scales or small sample sizes. Although QoL is a heterogeneous concept, it is clearly correlated with a number of factors, including illness, medication and stress process-related variables. Various protective factors have been identified; among these are personality traits, the degree of social support and treatment interventions. In clinical studies, atypical antipsychotic agents are associated with greater improvements in QoL and subjective wellbeing than are conventional agents. The reason for this is probably the ability of atypical agents to have a positive impact on factors most associated with QoL, such as negative and affective symptoms and drug tolerability. The most appropriate clinical approach to maximize QoL and subjective wellbeing for patients with schizophrenia is to use atypical antipsychotic drugs as a first-line treatment approach. Ideally, an atypical drug which is known not to have a negative effect on attention, affect or motivation should be chosen.