Objective: Tobacco consumption among patients with schizophrenia has been investigated extensively in western countries, but there is a dearth of studies in India, where socio-economic and cultural variables are different. This study aims to investigate the patterns of tobacco consumption among schizophrenia patients compared with their non-psychotic siblings.
Methods: Consenting, successive male outpatients diagnosed with schizophrenia (n=100, DSM-IV criteria), and their non-psychotic brothers (n=100) were compared. Following a structured diagnostic interview, detailed information about tobacco consumption (including smokeless tobacco) was obtained using the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence for smoked tobacco, and FTND-smokeless tobacco. The University of Pennsylvania Computerized Neurocognitive battery (CNB) was administered to a sub-group of patients (n=48).
Results: Schizophrenia patients initiated tobacco use at a significantly earlier age than their brothers, but there was no significant difference with regard to type, quantity or frequency of tobacco use (smoke or smokeless varieties). Patients who consumed tobacco had significantly higher positive symptom scores compared with non-users (p=0.043). There were no significant differences between nicotine dependent and non-dependent patients with regard to CNB domains except attention.
Conclusion: Patterns of tobacco consumption were similar among schizophrenia patients and their non-psychotic brothers. Tobacco use was associated with increased positive symptom scores, but there were no significant differences in cognitive measures among nicotine dependent and non-dependent patients.
Keywords: Familial; India; Nicotine; Schizophrenia; Sibling; Tobacco.