Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare the short-term efficacy and safety of risperidone and clozapine in treatment-resistant chronic schizophrenic patients.
Method: In a controlled double-blind, multicenter study, 86 inpatients with chronic schizophrenia (DSM-III-R), who were resistant to or intolerant of conventional neuroleptics, were randomly assigned to receive risperidone or clozapine for 8 weeks after a 7-day washout period. After a 1-week dose-titration phase, doses were fixed at 6 mg/day of risperidone and 300 mg/day of clozapine for 1 week and then adjusted according to each patient's response. The final mean doses were 6.4 mg/day of risperidone and 291.2 mg/day of clozapine. Treatment efficacy and safety were evaluated with several well-known rating scales.
Results: Both risperidone and clozapine significantly reduced the severity of psychotic symptoms (scores on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale and the Clinical Global Impression scale) from baseline, with no significant between-group differences. At endpoint, 67% of the risperidone group and 65% of the clozapine group were clinically improved (reduction of 20% or more in total Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale score). Risperidone appeared to have a faster onset of action. In both groups extrapyramidal symptoms and other adverse events were few, and their severity was generally mild. Neither group showed evidence of a relation between drug plasma concentrations and clinical effectiveness.
Conclusions: Risperidone was well tolerated and as effective as medium doses of clozapine in patients with chronic schizophrenia who had been resistant to or intolerant of conventional neuroleptics.