Y Zhu, C Li, M Huhn, P Rothe, M Krause, I Bighelli, J Schneider-Thoma and S Leucht,
European neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 2017 09
It is often stated that first-episode patients tend to respond better to antipsychotics than chronic patients, but the exact numbers and moderators of response in this population are unclear. We, therefore, present the first systematic review on response rates of first episode patients with schizophrenia in randomized trials. We searched multiple databases for randomized-controlled trials of antipsychotics in acutely ill patients with a first episode of schizophrenia (last search: November 17, 2016). The outcomes were response rate based on two criteria, at least 50% PANSS or BPRS total score reduction from baseline and at least 20% reduction. Data were pooled in a single-group summary meta-analysis using Comprehensive Meta-Analysis software. Moreover, several potential moderators of response to antipsychotics were examined by meta-regression. We included 17 studies with a total of 3156 participants. On the average, 81.3%/51.9% of the first-episode patients reached an at least 20%/50% PANSS or BPRS reduction from baseline, respectively. Meta-regressions revealed a better treatment response in female patients, in more severely ill patients at baseline, in antipsychotic naïve patients, in patients with a shorter illness duration and in open studies. Study duration and dosage were no significant moderators of response. Our finding suggest that more than 80% of first-episode patients achieved 20% PANSS/BPRS reduction from baseline and around 50% achieved a 50% PANSS/BPRS reduction. Several patient characteristics moderated response rates.