Pfizer Drug Effective in Schizophrenia Remission
Researchers investigating the efficacyand tolerability of atypical antipsychoticsin the long-term treatment of schizophreniafound that Pfizer's ziprasidone(Geodon) in twice-daily or 4-times-a-daydosing effectively achieves remissionand encourages maintenance. In a double-blind, randomized, 40-week continuationstudy, 72 participants with schizophreniareceived 40 to 80 mg of ziprasidonebid; another group of 67 patientsreceived 80 to 120 mg of ziprasidone qd;and a third group of 47 received 5 to 20mg/d of haloperidol. Efficacy was definedby maintenance over a 6-month periodand a simultaneous rating of <3 ("mild")on all Positive and Negative SyndromeScale remission criteria. Researchersalso used their own observations at eachweek's follow-up to make an assessment.Baseline severity was comparablefor all treatment groups. Discontinuationrates (up to 4 years) were 65% and 58%,respectively, for the ziprasidone groups(bid and qd) and 66% for the haloperidolgroup. Achievement of at least onesymptomatic remission was 57% forboth ziprasidone groups and 45% for thehaloperidol group. In the study's final 6months, a greater percentage of patientswas experiencing remission in theziprasidone groups than in the haloperidolgroup: 41% and 43%, compared with23%. These results support the effectivenessof ziprasidone in both dose regimensfor the long-term treatment ofpatients with schizophrenia, becauseboth observed response and clinicalremission rates were higher than thoseof haloperidol.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medicalwriter based in Wakefield, RI.