Treatment Strategies to Prevent Relapse and Encourage Remission

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Remission is a realistic goal for patients with schizophrenia, and, if sustained remission without relapse can be achieved, then patients may attain functional recovery. With each relapse, recovery can be slowed and the course of illness worsened. The risk of self-harm and harm to others increases with each psychotic episode. The chance of relapse is decreased if pharmacotherapy continues uninterrupted, and one strategy to ensure continuous treatment is using long-acting injectable antipsychotic medications. Achieving remission of schizophrenia is clinically meaningful because, besides symptom control, remission allows for improved vocational and social functioning. Functional recovery without relapse allows patients to return to work, sustain interpersonal relationships, and lead more productive lives. Therefore, achieving the goals of remission and recovery is in the best interest not only of patients with schizophrenia but also of society.

J Clin Psychiatry 2007;68(suppl 14):27-30