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Cognitive and Functional Effects of Atypical Antipsychotic Medications

Philip D. Harvey, Ph. D.


Several meta-analyses and some direct comparative studies of atypical antipsychotics indicate that these medications may be more effective than conventional antipsychotic medications at enhancing cognition. However, differences in studies exist: short-term studies of cognitive enhancement may not provide similar results to long-term studies, while comparative studies are superior to meta-analyses. Direct measurement of changes in functional capacity may be a desirable study feature, and the population studied, including the treatment subjects receive, is likely to have a substantial impact on the results. Additionally, cognitive enhancement is not a stand-alone phenomenon. Depression and negative symptoms, for example, also affect an individual with schizophrenia and his or her functioning in the real world as opposed to within clinical studies.

(J Clin Psychiatry 2006;67[10]:e13)


From the Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY