While most individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia respond to the first or second anti-psychotic prescribed, up to 30% of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia fail to respond to these initial treatments. In addition, some individuals who responded to the first or second anti-psychotic eventually fail to respond to those same anti-psychotics after several years.
These populations are considered “treatment resistant”, and they can exhibit more severe positive and negative symptoms than others diagnosed with schizophrenia. The reason for treatment resistance is not known, though some believe that some individuals who have taken antipsychotics for several years develop a dopamine hypersensitivity that triggers the worsening symptoms. In addition, some physicians have found that Clozapine is a helpful psychopharmacological treatment for treatment-resistant individuals, though care should be taken to monitor the side effects of this medication.
Kane, J. M., Agid, O., Baldwin, M. L., Howes, O., Lindenmayer, J. P., Marder, S., … & Correll, C. U. (2019). Clinical guidance on the identification and management of treatment-resistant schizophrenia. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 80(2), 0-0.
Maria Stacy, MA
WKPIC Doctoral Intern