Research aims to determine effectiveness of schizophrenia drugs
What: Participants needed for two nationwide research studies
Who: Stephen Olson, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Medical School
Contacts: Brenda Hudson, Academic Health Center, 612.624.5680
(01/14/2003) —Researchers at the University of Minnesota Department of Psychiatry schizophrenia program are seeking patients to participate in two of the largest nationwide studies to determine the effectiveness of newer (atypical) antipsychotic drugs used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia. The studies are aimed at two different populations: CATIE (Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness) will enroll patients with schizophrenia and related disorders; and CAFÉ (Comparisons for Atypicals for First Episode) will enroll people in the first stages of a psychotic disorder who have been on drug treatment for less than 16 weeks.
These newer drugs have been available since the early 1990s, but accurate, unbiased information on their efficacy and side effects is not available, said Stephen Olson, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry, director of the schizophrenia program and principal investigator for the two trials at the University of Minnesota.
"This will be the definitive study comparing the new medications in a real world setting, and the results will influence how psychiatrists use these medications in the treatment of schizophrenia," said Olson. "By participating in the these studies, our patients will be making a major contribution towards better treatment in the future for people with these conditions."
Unlike first-generation antipsychotics, newer medications studied in these two projects are thought to have fewer neurological side effects and are better tolerated by patients. However, they cost at least 10 times more than the first-generation antipsychotics and their relative effectiveness is unknown. The results of the CATIE study will help determine if the atypical drugs are more effective and whether they are worth the higher price. The results of the CAFÉ study will evaluate the effectiveness and side effects of the atypical antipsychotics commonly used in the treatment of first episode psychosis.
"The schizophrenia program at the University is honored to be selected to participate in these important projects," said Olson.
In addition to a closely monitored medication regimen, each participant will receive comprehensive medical and psychiatric care, cognitive testing, and education about their condition.
The CATIE project is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. The CAFÉ project is sponsored by AstrZeneca Pharmaceuticals, manufacturer of Seroquel, one of the medications studied. Placebos will not be used in this study. All participants receive active, FDA-approved medication and are encouraged to receive other treatment such as counseling, rehabilitation, and care management.
For more information about the local CATIE trial, please contact study coordinator Elizabeth Lemke, or for more information about the local CAFÉ trial, please contact study coordinator Jeannie Kenney. Both can be reached at the University of Minnesota Department of Psychiatry at 612.627.4840.