In a new study, researchers found combining certain types of two therapies in the treatment of schizophrenia may help lower the risk of relapse.
The research was conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet.
Previous studies have shown that the effect of combination therapy in schizophrenia relapse prevention is controversial.
In addition, it is believed that the use of multiple therapies could impair physical well-being.
However, the evidence for this is quite weak.
In the current study, the team aimed to find the difference in relapse in schizophrenia when patients use therapy combination compared to single therapy.
The team tested more than 62,000 patients. All of the participants with schizophrenia were treated in the inpatient setting during 1972-2014 in Finland.
The researchers followed the patients to see the relapse of the mental disease.
They found that therapy combination, in general, was linked to a lower risk of relapse than a single therapy.
For example, combining aripiprazole with clozapine was linked to the best outcome. Patients had a 14% -23% lower risk of relapse compared to clozapine alone.
The researchers did not find evidence that single therapy was better than therapy combination in preventing relapse.
The findings suggest that the current treatment guidelines should modify their recommendations.
Currently, guidelines state that single therapy should be preferred and therapy combination should be avoided if possible.
The team suggests that the current treatment guidelines should tone down their categorical recommendations and do not advise patients to avoid therapy combination.
The lead author of the study is Jari Tiihonen, a specialist doctor and professor at Karolinska Institute.
The study is published in JAMA Psychiatry.
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Further reading: JAMA Psychiatry.