Psychiatric Inpatient Healthcare Resource Utilization and Treatment Patterns Among Patients With Predominant Negative Symptoms in Schizophrenia

Rashmi Patel, Darshan Mehta, Aditi Kadakia, Yida Won, Carole Dembek, Gwilym Williams, Xueyan Huang, Courtney Zeni, Andrei Pikalov

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Currently approved treatments for schizophrenia (antipsychotics) have demonstrated effectiveness for treating positive symptoms; however, these agents are largely ineffective in treating other domains. Negative symptoms, including avolition, alogia, blunted affect, and asociality, are difficult to treat, and often persist despite adequate control of positive symptoms. Additionally, some patients experience “predominant” (moderate-to-severe negative symptoms that have greater relative severity than co-occurring positive symptoms) or “prominent” (severity of negative symptoms [moderate-to-severe] without any reference to positive symptoms) negative symptoms. These symptoms are known to have great impact on patient social functioning and quality of life, and are associated with poorer clinical course and outcomes for patients. Here, we examined inpatient healthcare resource utilization in patients with schizophrenia experiencing predominantly negative symptoms (PNS).

De-identified data were extracted from electronic health records in the NeuroBlu Database across 25 US mental healthcare providers. Positive and negative symptom data were derived from free-text records using natural language processing. PNS was defined as the presence of three or more negative symptoms and three or fewer positive symptoms at first clinical contact following schizophrenia diagnosis. Groups were balanced for baseline demographic and clinical characteristics by minimizing the generalized Mahalanobis distance and compared using chi-square and t-tests. Treatment patterns were visualized using Sankey diagrams.

A total of 4444 patients with schizophrenia were identified and 8% were classified as PNS. A balanced cohort of 720 patients (50% PNS) was generated. Patients with PNS were more likely to be hospitalized in the 12 months following diagnosis (PNS: 76%, non-PNS: 60%, χ2: 22.5, p < 0.001) and were switched to a second-line antipsychotic after a shorter first-line treatment duration. The most frequently prescribed antipsychotics differed between groups (PNS: risperidone, aripiprazole, haloperidol; non-PNS: risperidone, olanzapine, other atypical).

This study demonstrates that negative symptoms in schizophrenia may be associated with worse illness course and higher healthcare resource utilization. There remains a need for new treatment options for patients with persistent, prominent, or predominant negative symptoms which specifically improve this historically hard-to-treat and assess symptom domain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222
Number of pages223
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2023

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