This report is an analysis of our experience with risperidone therapy in a veteran population with severe, suboptimally responsive psychosis from a perspective of clinical response and health resource utilization. We conducted a computer search for all patients who received risperidone therapy at our facility from February 1994 until July 1, 1996. Risperidone at our facility is prescribed when psychiatric symptoms appear to be refractory or suboptimally responsive to conventional antipsychotic therapy. A control group of patients on conventional antipsychotic therapy were also selected via the electronic data base. One hundred twenty-nine patients received risperidone therapy at a mean dosage of 5.05 ± 2.4 mg/d, for a mean duration of 247.4 ± 223.5 days. The largest proportion of patients (48.1%) had marked improvement on risperidone therapy. There were 35 patients who received at least 1 year of risperidone therapy. These patients had a significant decrease in hospital length of stay (LOS) from 80.7 to 28.7 days ( P = .003) on risperidone with no compensatory increase in outpatient visits. The group of patients who received conventional antipsychotic therapy during the study time period had a more modest mean reduction in LOS over a 2-year time period from 78.9 days during the initial identified year of conventional antipsychotic therapy to 56.4 days during the second identified year of conventional antipsychotic therapy ( P = .2). However, when change in LOS for the entire group was compared, the difference in change in LOS between risperidone and conventional antipsychotic treated patients did not reach statistical significance ( P = .2). This preliminary study concurs with other reports that risperidone therapy may be effective in severely mentally ill patients and may be associated with significant reductions in health resource utilization. Comparison of resource utilization between patients receiving risperidone and conventional antipsychotic therapy is still unclear and should be explored in larger and prospective studies.
Comprehensive Psychiatry – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 1999
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