The heterogeneity of antipsychotic response in the treatment of schizophrenia

Psychol Med. 2011 Jun;41(6):1291-300. doi: 10.1017/S0033291710001893. Epub 2010 Oct 7.


Background: Schizophrenia is a heterogeneous disorder in terms of patient response to antipsychotic treatment. Understanding the heterogeneity of treatment response may help to guide treatment decisions. This study was undertaken to capture inherent patterns of response to antipsychotic treatment in patients with schizophrenia, characterize the subgroups of patients with similar courses of response, and examine illness characteristics at baseline as possible predictors of response.

Method: Growth mixture modeling (GMM) was applied to data from a randomized, double-blind, 12-week study of 628 patients with schizophrenia or schizo-affective disorder treated with risperidone or olanzapine.

Results: Four distinct response trajectories based on Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total score over 12 weeks were identified: Class 1 (420 patients, 80.6%) with moderate average baseline PANSS total score showing gradual symptom improvement; Class 2 (65 patients, 12.5%) showing rapid symptom improvement; Class 3 (24 patients, 4.6%) with high average baseline PANSS total score showing gradual symptom improvement; and Class 4 (12 patients, 2.3%) showing unsustained symptom improvement. Latent class membership of early responders (ER) and early non-responders (ENR) was determined based on 20% symptom improvement criteria at 2 weeks and ultimate responders (UR) and ultimate non-responders (UNR) based on 40% symptom improvement criteria at 12 weeks. Baseline factors with potential influence on latent class membership were identified.

Conclusions: This study identified four distinct treatment response patterns with predominant representation of responders or non-responders to treatment in these classes. This heterogeneity may represent discrete endophenotypes of response to treatment with different etiologic underpinnings.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Benzodiazepines / adverse effects
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Olanzapine
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychotic Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology
  • Risperidone / adverse effects
  • Risperidone / therapeutic use*
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Young Adult


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Risperidone
  • Olanzapine