Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from AGP and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Primary research

Does duration of untreated psychosis predict very long term outcome of schizophrenic disorders? results of a retrospective study

Diego Primavera1, Chiara Bandecchi1, Tiziana Lepori1, Lucia Sanna1, Eraldo Nicotra2 and Bernardo Carpiniello1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health, Section of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Clinic, University of Cagliari, Via Liguria 13, 09127 Cagliari, Italy

2 Department of Psychology, University of Cagliari, Via Is Mirrionis 1, 09133 Cagliari, Italy

For all author emails, please log on.

Annals of General Psychiatry 2012, 11:21  doi:10.1186/1744-859X-11-21

Published: 2 August 2012

Abstract

Background

Studies performed to assess the relevance of duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) as a predictor of long-term outcome (i.e. follow-ups of ten years or more) are somewhat limited. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential association between DUP and very long-term outcome (16-33 yrs) of schizophrenia by means of a retrospective design.

Methods

Retrospective data obtained from clinical records were collected regarding DUP and outcome variables (number of hospitalizations; number of attempted suicides; course of illness; GAF scores at last observation) for a cohort of 80 outpatients (52 Males, 28 Females, mean age 51.0+/-11.58 years) affected by schizophrenia according to DSMIVTR attending a university community mental health centre.

Results

Mean duration of follow up was 25.2 +/- 8.68 years; mean duration of untreated psychosis was 49.00 months (range 1-312 mo), with no significant difference according to gender. Patients with a shorter DUP (=/< 1 year) displayed more frequent “favourable” courses of illness (28.9% vs 8.6%) (p = 0.025), more frequent cases with limited (=/< 3) number of hospital admissions (85.7% vs 62.1%) (p = 0.047) and a better functioning (mean GAF score = 50.32+/-16.49 vs 40.26+/-9.60, p = 0.002); regression analyses confirmed that shorter DUP independently predicted a more positive outcome in terms of number of hospital admissions, course of illness, functioning (GAF scores).

Conclusion

A shorter DUP appears to act as a significant predictor of better outcome in schizophrenia even in the very long-term.