A new study, published in the journal Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, shows that the atypical antipsychotic Seroquel (quetiapine), may be an effective treatment option for patients with schizophrenia who exhibit aggressive behaviour during psychotic episodes.
In the study, patients who received Seroquel demonstrated significantly greater improvements in symptoms of aggression and hostility compared to patients receiving placebo (p<0.01 P<0.01 on Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) alternative hostility cluster score, one of three parameters derived from the BPRS to measure hostility symptoms in the study).
"Aggressive behaviour is a significant problem in patients with schizophrenia and has severe negative consequences for the patient, families, carers and the therapeutic community as a whole" commented Professor Celso Arango, from the Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Maranon, Madrid, Spain, and study author. "It is important that patients who are experiencing aggressive symptoms are prescribed a therapy which not only treats these symptoms but which they also find acceptable, in terms of its tolerability, so that they adhere to the prescribed treatment" continued Professor Arango. "In both respects, Seroquel holds advantages for both patient and clinician, making it a powerful treatment option for these distressing and challenging symptoms."
Seroquel has been shown to provide first line efficacy together with trusted tolerability in treatment of schizophrenia during three randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. The study published today, an analysis of pooled data from these three pivotal trials, included a total of 389 patients who exhibited aggressive behaviour at study entry. The results show that patients who received Seroquel demonstrated significantly greater improvements in symptoms of aggression and hostility, compared with patients taking placebo, across all three efficacy parameters used in the study. In addition, the analysis showed that these improvements in hostility were highly correlated with improvements seen in patients' positive symptoms (characterised by delusions, an inability to think clearly and hallucinations).
Although the vast majority of patients with schizophrenia are not violent, much of the stigma associated with the condition is linked to the public perception that patients are inherently violent or aggressive. Historically, first generation antipsychotics have been the mainstay of treatment for treating aggressive or violent patients, however severe side effects limit their benefit. Therefore, research in this field, particularly as regards the benefits of newer atypical antipsychotics such as Seroquel in reducing such violent behaviour, is of great importance to patients and their families.
Seroquel has been licensed for the treatment of schizophrenia since 1997 and is available in 82 countries for the treatment of this condition. Seroquel is also licensed in 63 countries for the treatment of mania associated with bipolar disorder, including the US, Canada and several European countries. To date, over 8 million people have been treated with Seroquel worldwide.