Frailty and Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Community Ment Health J. 2022 Jul 5. doi: 10.1007/s10597-022-00998-8. Online ahead of print.


Frailty, a state of reduced physiological reserve, has not been studied in consumers with treatment-resistant schizophrenia, despite known elevated rates of comorbidity and psychosocial impairment. This study applies a frailty index to the electronic medical records of 78 adults with treatment-resistant schizophrenia, aged 18-64 years, to determine the prevalence and characteristics of frailty (defined as a frailty index score > 0.21). The mean frailty index score was 0.24 (SD = 0.091, range = 0.061-0.54), with 52.6% of the population categorised as frail (40.0% in those aged 18-39 years). Frailty was positively correlated with age and psychiatric illness severity. This study provides novel evidence that individuals with treatment-resistant schizophrenia have a high rate of frailty and become frail at a younger age. Routine frailty assessments could be used to trigger the delivery of appropriate interventions, which have the potential to improve life expectancy and quality of life.

Keywords: Frailty; Schizophrenia; Severe mental illness; Treatment-resistant.