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Logo of bmcpsycBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Psychiatry
BMC Psychiatry. 2011; 11: 143.
Published online 2011 August 26. doi:  10.1186/1471-244X-11-143
PMCID: PMC3176186

Sustained favorable long-term outcome in the treatment of schizophrenia: a 3-year prospective observational study



This study of chronically ill patients with schizophrenia aimed to identify patients who achieve sustained favorable long-term outcome - when the outcome incorporates severity of symptoms, level of functioning, and use of acute care services - and to identify the best baseline predictors of achieving this sustained favorable long-term outcome.


Using data from the United States Schizophrenia Care and Assessment Program (US-SCAP) (N = 2327), a large 3-year prospective, multisite, observational study of individuals treated for schizophrenia in the US, a hierarchical cluster analysis was performed to group patients based upon baseline symptom severity. Symptom severity was assessed using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) scores, level of functioning, and use of acute care services. Level of functioning reflected patient-reported productivity and clinician-rated occupational role functioning. Use of acute care services reflected self-reported psychiatric hospitalization and emergency service use. Change of health state was determined over the 3-year period. A patient was classified as having a sustained favorable long-term outcome if their health state values had the closest distance to the defined "best baseline cluster" at each point over the length of the study. Stepwise logistic regression was used to determine baseline predictors of sustained favorable long-term outcome.


At baseline, 5 distinct health state clusters were identified, ranging from "best" to "worst." Of 1635 patients with sufficient data, only 157 (10%) experienced sustained favorable long-term outcome during the 2-years postbaseline. The baseline predictors associated with sustained favorable long-term outcome included better quality of life, more daily activities, patient-reported clearer thinking from medication, better global functioning, being employed, not being a victim of a crime, not having received individual therapy, and not having received help with shopping and leisure activities.


Only a small percentage of patients achieved sustained favorable long-term outcome in this study, suggesting there continues to be a great need for improvement in the treatment of schizophrenia. Findings suggest that clinicians could make early projections of health states and identify those patients more likely to achieve favorable long-term outcomes enabling early therapeutic interventions to enhance benefits for patients.

Articles from BMC Psychiatry are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central