Rationale: Studies have shown that risperidone is safe and efficacious in young and middle-aged adults with chronic schizophrenia, but considerably fewer data are available on the treatment of elderly patients with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders, particularly long-term outcomes.
Objective: A 12-month, open-label study was conducted to assess the effects of risperidone in elderly, chronically ill, psychotic patients.
Methods: This study enrolled 180 elderly, chronically ill, psychotic patients (median age, 72 years [range 54-89]), 97 of whom completed the 12-month study. At endpoint, the mean dose of risperidone was 3.7 mg/day.
Results: Clinical improvement (> or =20% reduction in Positive and Negative Syndrome Score [PANSS] total score) was achieved by 54% of patients at endpoint. There were significant reductions in PANSS total, subscale (positive, negative, and general psychopathology), and cognition cluster scores at endpoint (p<0.001). Clinical Global Impressions severity of illness scores showed continued improvement through month 12 (p<0.001). In contrast, PANSS data from a historical comparable control group of patients receiving conventional antipsychotic agents showed no symptom improvement over a 12-month treatment period. The severity of preexisting extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) in patients treated with risperidone decreased significantly from baseline to endpoint (p<0.001), and the use of antiparkinsonian medication decreased from 41.1% of patients before the trial to 25.6% during the trial. There were no spontaneous reports of tardive dyskinesia (TD) and the incidence of assessed TD was 4.3% in contrast to the expected 26% reported in middle-aged and elderly patients receiving conventional antipsychotic agents for 1 year.
Conclusions: Long-term treatment with risperidone was associated with continued symptom improvement, a decrease in the severity of preexising EPS, and a low incidence of TD in elderly psychotic patients.
Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.