ABSTRACT: According to clinical trials literature, every person with a schizophrenic disorder should be provided with the combination of optimal dose antipsychotics, strategies to educate himself and his carers to cope more efficiently with environmental stresses, cognitive-behavioural strategies to enhance work and social goals and reducing residual symptoms, and assertive home-based management to help prevent and resolve major social needs and crises, including recurrent episodes of symptoms. Despite strong scientific support for the routine implementation of these 'evidence-based' strategies, few services provide more than the pharmacotherapy component, and even this is seldom applied in the manner associated with the best results in the clinical trials. An international collaborative group, the Optimal Treatment Project (OTP), has been developed to promote the routine use of evidence-based strategies for schizophrenic disorders. A field trial was started to evaluate the benefits and costs of applying evidence-based strategies over a 5-year period. Centres have been set up in 18 countries. This paper summarises the outcome after 24 months of 'optimal' treatment in 603 cases who had reached this stage in their treatment by the end of 2002. On all measures the evidence-based OTP approach achieved more than double the benefits associated with current best practices. One half of recent cases had achieved full recovery from clinical and social morbidity. These advantages were even more striking in centres where a random-control design was used.
World psychiatry: official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) 07/2004; 3(2):104-9. · 6.23 Impact Factor