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Common Treatment Goals of Antipsychotics: Acute Treatment

Zafar A. Sharif, M.D.

Published: February 1, 1998

Article Abstract

When a patient with an acute exacerbation of schizophrenia is admitted into the hospital, the targetsymptoms include pathologic excitement/agitation and exacerbated psychotic symptoms. The goal ofhospitalization becomes attenuation of these symptoms to a level compatible with safe discharge. Themainstay of stabilization is antipsychotic treatment. A risk/benefit analysis of the conventional versusthe newer antipsychotics favors the use of the newer agents as first-line drugs. These newer antipsychoticagents represent the first significant advance in the pharmacologic treatment of schizophreniain the past four decades. They are at least as effective as conventional agents and are clearly superiorfrom a safety perspective. Because of short inpatient stays, the challenge for clinicians is to provide anadequate treatment period without aggressively escalating the dose.

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Volume: 59

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