A comparison of the effects of quetiapine ('Seroquel') and haloperidol in schizophrenic patients with a history of and a demonstrated, partial response to conventional antipsychotic treatment
Quetiapine ('Seroquel') is a well-tolerated, novel, atypical antipsychotic with consistent efficacy in the treatment of schizophrenia. To date, no clinical studies have evaluated the effect of quetiapine in patients who only partially respond to conventional antipsychotics, yet this type of patient is most frequently seen by psychiatrists. Therefore, this international, multicentre, double-blind study was conducted to compare the efficacy and tolerability of 8 weeks' treatment of quetiapine 600 mg/day with haloperidol 20 mg/day in 288 patients who had a history of partial response to conventional antipsychotics and displayed a partial or no response to 1 month of fluphenazine (20 mg/day) treatment. Patients on quetiapine tended to have greater improvement than those on haloperidol in the primary efficacy measure, mean Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (PANSS) score, after 4 weeks' treatment (-9.05, -5.82, respectively, P = 0.061) and at study end (-11.50, -8.87, respectively, P = 0.234). Similarly, there was a trend towards patients on quetiapine demonstrating greater improvements in the secondary efficacy measures (Clinical Global Impression, PANSS subscale and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale scores) [week 4 (baseline) to week 12 (end)], but the difference between treatments did not reach significance. Significantly more patients on quetiapine than on haloperidol showed a clinical response - patient response rates, defined as ≥ 20% reduction in PANSS total score between weeks 4 and 12, were 52.2% for quetiapine and 38.0% for haloperidol (P = 0.043). Patients receiving quetiapine required less anticholinergic medication (P ≤ 0.011), had greater reduction in extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) (P = 0.005) and fewer treatment-emergent EPS-related adverse events compared to those on haloperidol (P < 0.001). Serum prolactin concentrations were elevated at the end of fluphenazine treatment in 73% of patients. Between weeks 4 and 12, elevated serum prolactin concentrations significantly decreased in quetiapine-treated patients compared to those receiving haloperidol (P < 0.001). At the end of quetiapine treatment, 83% of patients had normal prolactin levels while only 21% of patients receiving haloperidol were within the normal range. These results suggest that quetiapine may make a valuable contribution to the management of patients with a history of partial response to conventional antipsychotics. (C) 2000 Lipincott Williams and Wilkins.