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Atypical Improves Cognition in First Episode Psychosis.

WHISTLER, B.C. -- The atypical antipsychotic agent quetiapine proved beneficial in measures of cognitive function in young patients experiencing a first episode of psychosis, Dr. L. Kopala reported at a meeting of the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research.

"Cognitive dysfunction is the most important predictor of future social and occupational functioning in patients with psychotic disorders," said Dr. Kopala of the department of psychiatry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S. It traditionally has been considered a core feature of the illness and is unlikely to be amenable to treatment. A recent review suggested that cognitive function may worsen following treatment with the standard antipsychotic drugs (Am. J. Psychiatry 158[2]:176-84, 2001).

In an open-label study that included 30 patients ranging in age from 17 to 39, evaluations of abstraction, fluency, attention, memory, and sensory/motor function were performed at baseline, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year. "Better performance was observed over time for all of the neuropsychological tests examined," Dr. Kopala reported. "Predictably, the timed motor tasks did not change over time," he said.

Verbal fluency rose from an average total score of 33 at baseline to 39 after 1 year of treatment. Statistically significant improvements were seen on measures of executive function and attention, reported Dr. Kopala, also of the Nova Scotia Early Psychosis Program in Dartmouth.

Funding for this study was provided by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals.
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Title Annotation:quetiapine
Author:Walsh, Nancy
Publication:Clinical Psychiatry News
Date:Aug 1, 2001
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