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Publications (3)14.85 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: This study was conducted (1) to assess the prophylactic efficacy of lithium and carbamazepine in the maintenance treatment of schizoaffective disorder (SAD) with long-term follow-up, (2) to find predictors of the success or failure of prophylaxis, and (3) to search for differences in outcome between schizoaffective patients diagnosed according to either ICD-10 or DSM-IV. Participating patients met the ICD-10 and/or DSM-IV criteria for schizoaffective disorder. Outcome was assessed using the Morbidity Index and time elapsed until the first recurrence during prophylaxis. Predictor variables were age at onset of illness, gender, and family history, as well as the following parameters prior to prophylaxis: time between onset of illness and start of prophylactic treatment (latency), severity of illness (hospitalization rate), number of hospital admissions and polarity of schizoaffective disorder (schizobipolar vs. schizounipolar). The time spent in the hospital per year was used to compare the course of illness before maintenance therapy to the time during maintenance therapy. Co-medication was taken into account. The clinical data during prophylaxis were ascertained prospectively. Forty-nine patients met the ICD-10 criteria for schizoaffective disorder, 34 of whom also met the DSM-IV criteria. All 49 patients underwent prophylactic therapy with either lithium (n=41) or carbamazepine (n=8) for an average of 6.8 years. After initiating prophylaxis, the number of days spent in the hospital declined dramatically from an average of 71 days to 11 days per year. No independent variable proved to be a consistent predictor of the course of treatment. In regard to the subgroup of patients diagnosed according to DSM-IV, no significant differences were observed when this subgroup was compared to the whole sample. As this is a naturalistic study it does not allow for exact quantitative measures of effectiveness. This study is the first of its kind to investigate the efficacy of maintenance therapy in SAD over such an extended period of time. The results of the study show that lithium and carbamazepine appear to be highly effective in treating patients with schizoaffective disorder. However, it remains unclear how many schizoaffective patients will respond to mood stabilizer treatment and whether predictors of clinical relevance exist. In our sample, differences in the ICD-10 and DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for schizoaffective disorder were not related to significant differences in clinical outcome.
    No preview · Article · May 2004 · Journal of Affective Disorders
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the effectiveness of lithium prophylaxis in unipolar major depressive disorder (MDD) and to identify predictors of outcome including comedication. In this long-term naturalistic study, clinical data from 55 patients with MDD (DSM-III-R) were collected prospectively in an outpatient clinic specializing in the treatment of affective disorders. Change in hospital admission rate (number and duration) during prophylaxis compared with the period before prophylaxis, Morbidity-Index during prophylaxis and time to first recurrence after initiation of lithium treatment. During an average follow-up period of 6.7 years, a significant decline in the number of days spent in hospital (p<0.001; 52 d/yr less; 95; CI 31-73 d) and a low Morbidity-Index (mean 0.07) was observed. Only in 6 patients did medication have to be changed because of side-effects (n=4) or a lack of efficacy (n=2). None of the independent variables we analyzed proved to be important in predicting the outcome of lithium prophylaxis. Comedication was necessary in 21 patients. The overall outcome of their prophylactic treatment, however, did not differ from the group that did not receive comedication in the symptom-free intervals. The results of this study, with its long observation period and the inclusion of comedication as a confounding variable, indicate that lithium is a potent prophylactic agent for unipolar MDD in a naturalistic setting. In contrast to the findings of others, age was not associated with the outcome of prophylaxis, and latency did not predict outcome. Contrary to doubts that have been raised in recent years with regard to the effectiveness of lithium in everyday clinical practice, lithium appears to be a safe and potent alternative to antidepressants.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2003 · Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience: JPN
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the impact of latency (the time between illness onset and initiation of prophylactic treatment) on the outcome of prophylaxis in bipolar disorders. The effect of prophylaxis delay (latency) on the course of illness was assessed in 147 patients. Dependent variables were: reduction of days spent in the hospital (prior to vs. during prophylaxis), time to first recurrence, and Morbidity-Index during prophylaxis (lithium or carbamazepine). Latency and other independent variables were tested using a multivariate approach. Latency (9.3 years on average) had no significant effect on the subsequent response. Illness severity prior to prophylaxis, however, did predict the relative response. The course of illness during treatment could not be predicted by any one factor. The delay in initiating prophylaxis appears to have no influence on prophylaxis outcome. Instead, those whose illness was more severe were treated earlier and these patients subsequently showed a relatively greater response. If severity is not controlled for as part of the analysis, latency may be mistaken as an important predictor for response.
    Full-text · Article · May 2003 · Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica