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Persistent negative symptoms in recent-onset psychosis: Relationship to treatment response and psychosocial functioning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Paola Bucci, Armida Mucci, Inge Winter van Rossum, Carmen Aiello, Celso Arango, Lone Baandrup, Robert W. Buchanan, Paola Dazzan, Arsime Demjaha, Covadonga M. Díaz-Caneja, Giulia Maria Giordano, Birte Y. Glenthøj, Stefan Leucht, Philip McGuire, Roberto Rodriguez-Jimenez, Annarita Vignapiano, René S. Kahn, Silvana Galderisi

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-86
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Early online date11 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

King's Authors


Negative symptoms are associated with poor clinical and psychosocial outcome in schizophrenia. Their prevalence and identification in first-episode patients remains controversial. In a large cohort of patients in the early stage of schizophrenia, schizophreniform or schizoaffective disorder, we investigated, over the different phases of the OPTiMiSE trial (baseline, 4, 10 and 22 weeks of treatment), the prevalence of negative symptoms of moderate severity, unconfounded by depression and extrapyramidal symptoms at baseline. Moreover, we assessed symptomatic remission, attrition rate and psychosocial functioning in subjects with short-term (4 weeks) persistent unconfounded negative symptoms (PNS) and in those with negative symptoms that did not persist at follow-up and/or were confounded at baseline (N-PNS). Negative symptoms of moderate severity were observed in 59% of subjects at baseline. They were associated with worse psychosocial functioning and longer duration of psychosis at intake in the study. Eleven percent of subjects had PNS unconfounded at baseline and 7.9% had PNS unconfounded at both baseline and end of 4-week treatment. Psychosocial functioning was comparable in PNS and N-PNS subjects at baseline but it was significantly worse in the former group after 4-weeks. PNS subjects showed lower remission and higher attrition rates at the end of all treatment phases. Fifty-six percent of subjects completing phase 3 (clozapine treatment) had PNS, and 60% of them were non-remitters at the end of this phase. The presence of short-term PNS during the first phases of psychosis was associated with poor clinical outcome and resistance to antipsychotic treatment, including clozapine.

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