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June 2012
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Marijuana Compound May Beat Antipsychotics at Treating Schizophrenia


By Traci Pedersen Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on June 7, 2012


A certain marijuana compound known as cannabidiol (CBD) can treat schizophrenia as well as antipsychotic drugs, with far fewer side effects, according to a preliminary clinical trial.


The research team, led by Markus Leweke of the University of Cologne in Germany, studied 39 people with schizophrenia who were hospitalized for a psychotic episode. Nineteen patients were treated with amisulpride, an antipsychotic medication that is not approved in the U.S., but is similar to other approved drugs.


The remaining 20 patients were given CBD, a substance found in marijuana that is considered responsible for the mellowing or anxiety-reducing effects. Unlike the main ingredient in marijuana, THC, which can trigger psychotic episodes and worsen schizophrenia, CBD has antipsychotic effects, according to prior research in both animals and humans.


Neither the patients nor the scientists knew who was receiving which drug. At the end of the four-week trial, both groups made significant clinical improvements in their schizophrenic symptoms, and there was no difference between those getting CBD or amisulpride.


“The results were amazing,” said Daniel Piomelli, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology at the University of California-Irvine and a co-author of the study. “Not only was [CBD] as effective as standard antipsychotics, but it was also essentially free of the typical side effects seen with antipsychotic drugs.”


Antipsychotic drugs may cause devastating and sometimes permanent movement disorders; they can also lower a patient’s motivation and pleasure. The new generation of these drugs can also lead to weight gain and increase the risk for diabetes. These side effects are well known as a major hindrance during treatment.


Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/06/07/marijuana-compound-may-beat-antipsychotics-at-treating-schizophrenia/39803.html

 


An open-label, multicenter evaluation of the long-term safety and efficacy of risperidone in adolescents with schizophrenia


Gahan Pandina, Stuart Kushner, Keith Karcher and Magali Haas


Abstract (provisional)


Background


Data on the long-term efficacy, safety, and tolerability of risperidone in adolescents with schizophrenia are limited. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of maintenance risperidone treatment in adolescents with schizophrenia.


Methods


This open-label study of adolescents aged 13 to 17 years with schizophrenia was a single extension study of two short-term double-blind risperidone studies and also enrolled subjects directly in open-label risperidone treatment. The risperidone dose was flexible and ranged from 2 to 6 mg/day. Most subjects enrolled for 6 months; a subset enrolled for 12 months. Assessment tools included the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale total and factor scores, Clinical Global Impressions, Children’s Global Assessment Scale, adverse event (AE) monitoring, vital signs, laboratory testing, and extrapyramidal symptom rating scales.


Results


A total of 390 subjects were enrolled; 48 subjects had received placebo in a previous double-blind study; 292 subjects had received risperidone as part of their participation in one of two previous controlled studies; and 50 subjects were enrolled directly for this study. A total of 279 subjects enrolled for 6 months of treatment, and 111 subjects enrolled for 12 months of treatment. Overall, 264 (67.7%) subjects completed this study: 209 of the 279 subjects (75%) in the 6-month group and 55 of the 111 subjects (50%) in the 12-month group. The median mode dose was 3.8 mg/day. At 6 months, all three groups experienced improvement from open-label baseline in symptoms of schizophrenia as well as general assessments of global functioning. Improvements were generally maintained for the duration of treatment. The most common AEs ([greater than or equal to]10% of subjects) were somnolence, headache, weight increase, hypertonia, insomnia, tremor, and psychosis. Potentially prolactin-related AEs (PPAEs) were reported by 36 (9%) subjects. The AE profile in this study was qualitatively similar to those of other studies in adult subjects with schizophrenia and in other psychiatric studies of risperidone in pediatric populations.


Conclusions


Risperidone maintenance treatment in adolescents over 6 to 12 months was well tolerated, consistent with related studies in this clinical population, and associated with continued efficacy. Trial registration Clinical trials.gov registration number: NCT00246285 http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00246285?term=NCT00246285&rank=1


The complete article is available as a provisional PDF. The fully formatted PDF and HTML versions are in production.


Source:

http://www.capmh.com/content/6/1/23/abstract

 


New Study Looks at Physical Conditions Linked with Schizophrenia


By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on June 6, 2012


While schizophrenia is a well-known mental health condition, scientists have observed that accelerated biological aging often accompanies the disorder.


A new study funded by a $4 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) will investigate why individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia also suffer a wide range of physiological changes.


“Schizophrenia is one of the most serious, challenging, and disabling mental illnesses,” said principal investigator Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., at UC San Diego School of Medicine.


Characterized by symptoms such as delusions, loss of touch with reality and social withdrawal, this chronic condition has become one of the leading causes of disability and premature mortality in the world. In the United States alone, the overall annual cost of schizophrenia is estimated to be more than $60 billion.


Physicians, mental health specialists and scientists have long observed that schizophrenia is more than a brain disease as it also affects a wide range of physical functions and presents rapid biological aging.


Prior studies have suggested that physiological changes seen throughout the body occur at an earlier age in people with schizophrenia. For example, young adults suffering from this mental condition are prone to diseases associated with growing older, such as diabetes and cardiovascular problems.


“Even though schizophrenia has been associated with a higher risk for suicide, two-thirds of the excess deaths in patients suffering from this mental illness are from other causes,” said Jeste. “The lifespan of patients with schizophrenia is usually 20 to 25 years shorter than those of unaffected individuals.”


The new study will directly examine biological aging in schizophrenia by using a battery of psychiatric and medical interviews, as well as several state-of-the-art laboratory techniques. Over the course of five years, the team will annually follow more than 250 subjects, aged 26 to 65 years.


Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/06/06/new-study-looks-at-physical-conditions-linked-with-schizophrenia/39767.html


Joshua’s Story: Living with Schizophrenia


By Natalie Jeanne Champagne


As a woman living with bipolar disorder, I understand mental illness-related stigma. I understand the damage it causes and the impact it can have on a person’s quality of life. But I cannot tell you that I understand the stigma associated with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is, without a doubt, the most stigmatized mental illness.


Bipolar disorder often is associated with intelligence, creativity, highs and lows. But schizophrenia is viewed differently. Society often is confronted with negative imagery: A homeless man or woman, dirt under their fingernails, mumbling to themselves; bars on hospital windows where they are confined and, above all, violence.


The stigma connected to schizophrenia, and to those who live with the illness, is different from that connected to people living with depression or bipolar disorder. It is harder to shatter; it is harder for people to understand.


Stepping out and putting a face and a name to my illness was anything but easy. But more people are doing this, and in doing so, we can lessen the stigma.

 


I had the pleasure of interviewing Joshua, who is featured in the documentary “Living With Schizophrenia: A Call for Hope and Recovery.” Joshua was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 17 following psychotic symptoms. He describes his experience living with the illness. Joshua effectively puts a face and name — a life story — to a horribly stigmatized illness.


Read More …

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/06/03/joshuas-story-living-with-schizophrenia/

 


Full Recovery from Schizophrenia?


By


This is the first of a series of blog postings related to my own series of research studies (my doctoral research at Saybrook University) of people who have made full and lasting medication-free recoveries after being diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. This is very exciting research because it is one of the few areas within psychological research that remains almost completely wide open. One reason it is so wide open is that most Westerners don’t believe that genuine recovery from schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders is possible, in spite of significant evidence to the contrary. Since there are some very hopeful findings that have emerged within this research, I want to begin this series of postings by summing up one particularly hopeful aspect of my own research, which is a group of five factors that emerged which are considered to have been the most important factors in my participants’ recovery process. But before looking closer at these factors, we should back up for a minute…


Read in Full:

http://brainblogger.com/2012/05/29/full-recovery-from-schizophrenia/?utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GNIFBrainBlogger+%28Brain+Blogger%29

 



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