Objective: Relapse is common among patients with psychotic disorders. Identification of relapse predictors is important for decision regarding maintenance medication. Naturalistic studies often identify medication non-adherence as a dominant predictor. There are relatively few studies for predictors where adherence is already known. It is this situation i.e., discontinuation of medication that predictors will be most useful. We identify predictors for relapse in situations of (i) discontinuation and (ii) continuation of maintenance medication.
Method: Analysis of relapse predictors is based on a randomized controlled study (n=178) comparing relapse rates between patients who discontinued or continued medication for at least 1 year following first-episode psychosis. Demographic, clinical and neurocognitive variables were assessed at baseline as predictors of relapse within 1 year.
Results: Risk of relapse was 79% in the discontinuation group and 41% in the maintenance group. Predictors in the discontinuation group were diagnosis of schizophrenia, poorer semantic fluency performance, and higher blink rate. Predictors in the continuation group were disinhibition soft signs and more general psychopathology symptoms.
Conclusion: Different predictors of relapse were identified for first episode psychosis patients who discontinued and continued maintenance medication. Neurocognitive dysfunctions are important predictors for both groups. While signs of frontal dysfunction and dopamine hyperactivity predict relapse in the discontinuation group, sign of cognitive disinhibition predicts relapse in the continuation group.
Keywords: Double blind; First-episode schizophrenia; Maintenance; Randomized controlled trial; Relapse prevention.
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