Negative symptoms in schizophrenia: considerations for clinical trials

Research paper by H. -J. Möller, H. M. van Praag, B. Aufdembrinke, P. Bailey, T. R. E. Barnes, J. Beck, H. Bentsen, F. X. Eich, L. Farrow, W. W. Fleischhacker, J. Gerlach, K. Grafford, B. Hentschel, A. Hertkorn, S. Heylen, et al.

Indexed on: 01 Jun '94Published on: 01 Jun '94Published in: Psychopharmacology


There is little agreement about the methodology of clinical trials of antipsychotic drugs in patients with negative symptoms. A literature review revealed wide variation in experimental design, rating scales and study duration. This reflects differing views as to the definition and response to treatment of negative symptoms. Some degree of standardization would improve comparability of studies and aid the development of new compounds. Patients included in such studies should have displayed negative symptoms for at least 6 months. Depressive symptoms, positive schizophrenic symptoms and extrapyramidal signs may all influence or be confused with negative symptoms and may respond to treatment; they should be at a low level at baseline and should be measured during the study period. Studies should last at least 8 weeks. Several scales are available for measuring negative symptoms and are reviewed; a global impression score should be used additionally.