Mad in America ran an article (Reduction/Discontinuation of Antipsychotics Produces Higher Long-Term Recovery) on July 3, describing a piece of research on this topic which had been done in Holland.
The original article, by Lex Wunderink, MD PhD et al, was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry (JAMA-P). You can see an abstract of the article here, but the full text is behind a pay wall.
The background to the study is the widespread psychiatric dogma that once a person has had a psychotic episode, he/she is considered to have an incurable, progressive illness (usually schizophrenia), and should take neuroleptic drugs for life. This particular piece of dogma – I suppose like all dogma – is highly resistant to contradictory evidence, and has been one of the pillars of psychiatric practice for five or six decades.
The fact that the drugs in question are in fact very potent neurotoxins, and wreak dreadful damage on those who take them, has also had little impact on the official doctrine.
The researchers followed up 128 individuals who had experienced a first-episode psychosis (FEP). After they had been in remission for 6 months, they were randomly assigned to either a discontinue/reduce group (DR), or to a maintenance treatment (MT) group, and they remained in this status for 18 months. For the next 5½ years, they were given drugs or not at the discretion of the treating physician.
At the end of the 5½ years, 103 of the individuals were located and consented to receive follow-up assessment.
“The DR patients experienced twice the recovery rate of the MT patients (40.4% vs. 17.6%).” The probability that this result could have arisen from random factors is less then 1 in 100.
The authors drew the following conclusions:
“Dose reduction/discontinuation of antipsychotics during the early stages of remitted FEP shows superior long-term recovery rates compared with the rates achieved with MT.” [maintenance treatment]
They caution that as this is the first study to address this issue, clinical implementation should await appropriate corroboration.
Those of us who have seen the effects of these drugs probably will not be surprised by the results. The more damage you inflict on people’s brains, the less likely they are to cope successfully with the ordinary trials and vicissitudes of life.
It is only in psychiatry that such obvious truths have to be proven. And, of course, it remains to be seen how psychiatry/pharma will try to spin the result. After all, reducing and discontinuing drugs is money lost!