Papers And Originals

Outpatient Maintenance of Chronic Schizophrenic Patients with Long-acting Fluphenazine: Double-blind Placebo

BMJ 1973; 1 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.1.5854.633 (Published 17 March 1973) Cite this as: BMJ 1973;1:633
  1. S. R. Hirsch,
  2. R. Gaind,
  3. P. D. Rohde,
  4. B. C. Stevens,
  5. J. K. Wing

    Abstract

    A double-blind placebo trial of fluphenazine decanoate, a long-acting phenothiazine, was carried out to determine its value in maintenance therapy of chronic schizophrenic outpatients already established on the drug for a minimum period of eight weeks. In low doses it was significantly more effective than placebo in preventing relapse and admission to hospital. Relapse was accompanied by a resurgence of specifically schizophrenic symptoms and by an increase in abnormalities described by the relatives. There was no difference between the experimental and control groups in the treatment required for depression. The group on active medication required more treatment for Parkinsonism, but this difference did not reach statistical significance.

    In the context of a well-run special clinic for outpatient follow-up of chronic schizophrenic patients these results confirm the usefulness of long-acting fluphenazine. By inference, the benefit of this treatment highlights the need for adequate community services to deal with the residual chronic disabilities which are characteristic of these patients.