Partial response to antipsychotic treatment: The patient with enduring symptoms
While approximately 70% of patients with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders show a clear-cut reduction of symptoms in clinical trials, there is considerable variation in individual patient outcome, ranging from complete remission to absolute refractoriness. When additional indicators of treatment outcome are considered, such as cognitive and occupational and social functioning, it is clear that the overall outcome for schizophrenia is far from satisfactory. For many schizophrenic patients, treatment with conventional antipsychotic agents is not fully effective, and one approach has been to increase the administered dose. However, raising the dose increases the likelihood of side effects and may significantly compromise patient compliance. The availability of atypical antipsychotic agents represents a significant step forward for those patients who are nonresponsive to conventional antipsychotics, offering proven efficacy, a lower risk of extrapyramidal symptoms, and improved clinical outcomes.