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Importance of Gender in the Treatment of Schizophrenia

Eva Ceskova, MD, and Radovan Prikryl, MD

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ABSTRACT

Objective: To compare male and female patients participating in e-STAR (electronic Schizophrenia Treatment Adherence Registry), an international, prospective, observational study assessing use of risperidone long-acting injection in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder in both the Czech and Slovak Republics.

Method: The demographic, clinical, and treatment-related data were collected at baseline and then prospectively for 24 months. We focused on gender differences in demographic and clinical data (hospitalizations, concomitant medication, and clinical improvement using Clinical Global Impressions-severity of illness [CGI-S], Global Assessment of Functioning [GAF], and Personal and Social Performance [PSP] scales). All psychiatric diagnoses were made according to International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision criteria. Data were collected from September 2006 through September 2009.

Results: A total of 868 patients (488 men and 380 women) were included in the assessment. At baseline, the women were significantly older than the men (42.1 ± 12.8 vs 34.8 ± 11.1 years, respectively; P < .0001). The women were also significantly more frequently diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder (P = .0048). There was no difference between men and women in the proportion of patients hospitalized in the retrospective and prospective period (including length of stay). At 24 months, the men were taking fewer antidepressants and benzodiazepines than the women (controlled for baseline values). In men and women, a significant decrease in the CGI-S score (P < .001) and a significant increase in the GAF and PSP scores (P < .001) from baseline were observed. The improvements in CGI-S and PSP scores were similar in both groups (no significant difference between male and female patients). The improvement (increase) in the mean GAF score was significantly higher in women than in men (P = .0317).

Conclusions: The treatment with risperidone long-acting injection was associated with clinically significant improvement in both male and female patients with schizophrenia with comparable severity of illness. There were no significant differences in most outcome measures. Gender differences, especially concerning treatment response to individual antipsychotics and their different forms, should be more intensively studied.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2012;14(6):doi:10.4088/PCC.12m01407

Submitted: May 3, 2012; accepted August 13, 2012.

Published online: November 15, 2012.

Corresponding author: Eva Ceskova, MD, Central European Institute of Technology, Masaryk University, Jihlavska 20, Brno, Czech Republic 625 00 (eva.ceskova@gmail.com).