Socio-demographic correlates of treatment response among patients with schizophrenia in a tertiary hospital in South-East Nigeria
Background: Many patients with schizophrenia respond poorly to antipsychotic medication. Few studies have systematically examined the relationship of social and demographic characteristics of these patients to treatment response in our environment.
Objective: To identify the social and demographic variables associated with treatment response in patients with schizophrenia.
Method: A total of 172 participants with a diagnosis of schizophrenia receiving antipsychotics took part in the study. Participants were consecutively recruited involving patients presenting for the first time, or relapsed patients who had stopped antipsychotics in the previous six months. Both in-patients and out-patients who met the inclusion criteria were studied. Socio-demographic interview schedule and the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) were administered at the initial encounter and between 4 and 6 weeks, subsequently.
Results: Defining good treatment response as ≥ 20% reduction in PANSS score, 68% had a good response while 32% had poor response. Good response to treatment was associated with late age of onset of illness, satisfactory family relationship, acquisition of skilled occupation and being married. However, there was no association between treatment response and gender.
Conclusion: Knowledge about these variables in relation to treatment response would improve mental health services as regards articulation of prognosis and psycho education.
Keywords: Socio-demographic correlates, schizophrenia, South-East Nigeria
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