Lege Artis Medicinae



NOVEMBER 30, 2004

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2005;15(02 klsz)

[As many as 80% of patients with schizophrenia have serious problems with the compliance at some point during their course of their treatment. In most cases, patients are partially compliant, taking only a portion of their prescribed medication. Early warning signs of such partial compliance may confuse some clinicians with non-response to treatment and may result in switching these patients to alternative oral antipsychotic drugs. This review focuses on factors that can contribute to partial compliance such as poor insight, negative attitude or subjective response toward medication, cognitive dysfunction, treatment-related side effects, substance abuse and complicated treatment regimen. Partial compliance is among the most common causes of psychotic relapse and the need for rehospitalisation. The reduced incidence of adverse side effects such as extrapyramidal symptoms with atypical antipsychotic agents has the potential to improve compliance in the maintenance treatment of schizophrenia. Administration of a long-acting injectable antipsychotic provides confirmation of whether patients have taken their medication. Furthermore, it allows physicians to distinguish non-response and non-compliance. Strategies for managing partial compliance include the use of a long-acting injectable atypical antipsychotic, psychoeducation and cognitive-behavioural interventions.]



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BÁNKI M. Csaba

[Schizophrenia is a severe and chronic disorder affecting almost 1% of the population worldwide. Antipsychotic drugs, currently in their secondgeneration (atypical) antipsychotics, represent its first-line treatment. Compliance during long-term maintenance pharmacotherapy is one of the key factors in successful patient management; longacting, injectable antipsychotics may significantly contribute to the improvement of the patients The new form of this drug is the first long-acting, injectable second-generation antipsychotic; administered biweekly it produces stable, reliable clinical efficacy. Low peak plasma concentrations and smaller plasma level fluctuations result in excellent tolerance, less side effects than with per os risperidone and minimal local pain due to its specific technology. There is strong evidence from controlled clinical trials for its prolonged efficacy during long-term administration and for patient satisfaction being usually better than with most other antipsychotics. Switching over to long-acting injectable risperidone often results in further improvement even in previously stable patients. No safety concerns have emerged from published evidence. The long-acting injectable risperidone appears to reduce the rehospitalisation rate, a major factor towards its cost-effectiveness.]

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[The first drug used as an antipsychotic was chlorpromazine in 1952. The effective drugs after chlorpromazine in the treatment of schizophrenia and acute manic episodes were named as “major tranquillants” then neuroleptic drugs and later as first-generation antipsychotics. The discovery of clozapin has opened a new era in psychiatric therapy which was followed by new antipsychotics with less and less neurological sideeffects. These are called atypical neuroleptics or second generation antipsychotics. The author reviews the path that is characterized by the changes in the naming of these drugs and has led to a situation where clinical recommendations - both in Hungary and internationally - are used to distinguish between the second generation antipsychotics as first or second treatment of choice.]

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[INTRODUCTION - In the past 15 years new antipsychotic drugs have come forward with higher efficacy in the treatment of schizophrenia. These new medications are safer and have less side-effects. It is now established that longacting maintenance therapy is favourable than intermittent therapy CASE PRESENTATION - The author introduces the case of a male schizophrenic patient who was hospitalized three times over ten years. He discontinued maintenance therapy because of lack of symptoms first time, then because of severe side-effects and then he stopped seeing his psychiatrist. However after a new acute episode his treatment was changed to longacting injectable risperidone with a success. With maintenance therapy the patient is now symptom-free and went back to work. CONCLUSION - Continuous long-acting injectable therapy proved to be successful in the prevention of symptom recurrence and with its application patient compliance has improved and smaller doses have become sufficient to maintain stedy-state.]

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Clinical Neuroscience

TLR4 (Toll-like receptor-4) expression and frontal-cingulate volumes in schizophrenia

LI Hua, KÉRI Szabolcs

Evidence suggests that pathogen-associated pattern recognition receptors (Toll-like receptors, TLRs) are implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. TLRs are important in both peripheral immune responses and neuronal plasticity. However, the relationship between peripheral TLR expression and regional brain volumes is unknown in schizophrenia. We therefore assessed 30 drug-naïve, first-episode patients with schizophrenia. TLR4+/TLR1+ monocytes were measured using flow-cytometry. High resolution magnetic resonance images (T1 MRI) were obtained and analyzed with FreeSurfer. Results revealed significant negative correlations between the percentage of TLR4+ monocytes, mean fluorescent intensities, and brain volumes in frontal and anterior cingulate regions. The measures of TLR1+ monocytes did not show significant relationships with regional brain volumes. These results raise the possibility that abnormal TLR-activation is associated with decreased brain volumes in schizophrenia.

Clinical Neuroscience

Symptom profiles and parental bonding in homicidal versus non-violent male schizophrenia patients

HALMAI Tamás, TÉNYI Tamás, GONDA Xénia

Objective - To compare the intensity and the profile of psychotic symptoms and the characteristics of parental bonding of male schizophrenia patients with a history of homicide and those without a history of violent behaviour. Clinical question - We hypothesized more intense psychotic symptoms, especially positive symptoms as signs of a more severe psychopathology in the background of homicidal behaviour. We also hypothesized a more negatively perceived pattern (less Care more Overprotection) of parental bonding in the case of homicidal schizophrenia patients than in non-violent patients and non-violent healthy controls. Method and subjects - Symptom severity and symptom profiles were assessed with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale in a group of male schizophrenia patients (n=22) with the history of committed or attempted homicide, and another group (n=19) of male schizophrenia patients without a history of violent behaviour. Care- and Overprotection were assessed using the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI) in a third group of non-violent healthy controls (n=20), too. Results - Positive, negative and general psychopathology symptoms in the homicidal schizophrenia group were significantly (p<0.005) more severe than in the non-violent schizophrenia group. Non-violent schizophrenia patients scored lower on Care and higher on Overprotection than violent patients and healthy controls. Homicidal schizophrenia patients showed a pattern similar to the one in the healthy control group. Conclusions - It seems imperative to register intense positive psychotic symptoms as predictive markers for later violent behaviour. In the subgroup of male homicidal schizophrenia patients negatively experienced parental bonding does not appear to be major contributing factor to later homicidal behaviour.

Clinical Neuroscience

[The application of RBANS (Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status) in neurocognitive testing of patients suffering from schizophrenia and dementia]

JUHÁSZ Levente Zsolt, KEMÉNY Katalin, LINKA Emese, SÁNTHA Judit, BARTKÓ György

[Introduction - The purpose of our study was to find out whether the Hungarian adaptation of the RBANS (Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status), a brief neurocognitive screening test, is appropriate for the differentation of healthy and non-healthy subject groups, or for the detection of differences between the cognitive performance of patient groups. Patients and method - The test battery was administrated to 38 healthy subjects, 69 schizophrenic patients, and 18 patients suffering from dementia (10 probable Alzheimer-type and eight vascular dementia). Results - There was a significant decrease of performance in all patient groups compared to the healthy group. In the schizophrenic group, the test indicated a deterioration of functioning in all cognitive areas. The patient group with Alzheimer-type dementia performed only slightly better than the schizophrenic group, because the fall of performance was not significant only one of the cognitive areas (in the visuo-spatial tasks) when compared to the healthy group. There was no difference between the performance of patients with vascular dementia and that of healthy subjects in direct memory, verbal and visuo-spatial tasks. The test results indicated an even deterioration of cognitive areas in patients with Alzheimer-type dementia. As for the vascular dementia group, the most vulnerable area proved to be that of attention, while their verbal functions were relatively spared. The deterioration in other cognitive functions shown by schizophrenic subjects was more moderate, but still significant. A comparison of the RBANS scores of the schizophrenic patients in our study and the result of an American study was also carried out. The global indeces showed no difference; only the pattern of the sub-scales was a little different. Conclusion - The Hungarian version of the RBANS seems appropriate for the differentiation of healthy and deteriorated cognitive performance in a Hungarian patient population.]

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[Clozapine - the last resort antipsychotic for treatment resistant schizophrenia ]


[More than 60 years old is the first antipschychotic drug that is operating atypically as well. With its multifarious history it gained the golden standard title of all therapy resistent schisophrenic cases for the last three decades. In this article we place clozapine on the map of psychopharmacology and review its history’s most important chapters. In the third part we discuss some of the most relevant effects and side effects of clozapine in the light of latest research and practical considerations touching the problem of the optimal start timing. ]

Clinical Neuroscience



[Neurophobia is the fear of neurological diseases. Its main symptom is that medical students and young doctors are not able to utilize their basic neurological knowledge at the bedside. According to statistics, every second student suffers from neurophobia. This attitude could explain why in the last two decades less and less young doctors wanted to become neurologist. Medical students complain that they receive no instructions, and are afraid of loosing their interest and of facing the failure of their competency. The hardship of neurology was explained by the insufficient knowledge of anatomy and the infrequent encounter with patients. Even general practitioners have anxiety about neurological patients. The loss of interest in neurosciences seems to associate with insensitivity of human-centered culture and corruption of empathic thinking. The burnout syndrome of medical doctors and students can be explained by stress, loss of respect, permanent competition, independency that interferes with responsibility, stiff hierarchy of medical society, fear of diagnostic failures and of economical difficulties. The scores of depression in female students were higher than in male. The idea of the “good neurologist” has been changed. The business oriented care, the shortage of time, and the financial restrictions corroded the conventional practice and ceased the vocational idealism. At present, personal teaching is going to transform into impersonal multimedia learning. Because of the drastic change of values, the age of inner-oriented professionals has terminated also in the medicine. Medical doctors follow even less the traditional troll of professional behavior, but according the social demands, they choose their specialization for subsistence. The highly esteemed social status of neurologists and psychiatrists is going to sink in Europe. To reduce neurophobia it would be desirable 1. to introduce neurology training in the early years of medical school; 2. to teach neurology in all semesters, 3. to assure the effective teaching of neuro-anatomy and physiology, 4. to organize more one-to-one teacher-student communication. In the United States, residents participate in teaching during their residency training. To master neurology dedicated teachers are necessary whom neurology residents ought to meet personally with optimal frequency. However, these requirements seem to fail because of the chiefly technical characters of the actual reforms.]