Last Tuesday, The New York Times and several other outlets (including Mad In America) reported on the highly-touted results of a study on psychosocial treatment for people with first-episode psychosis. Now, claims made about the study, which the ‘Times called “the most rigorous trial to date,” are coming under increased scrutiny.
The initial reports emphasized that the study showed that smaller doses of antipsychotic drugs were a central component of the new, more efficacious, treatment. However, when the study was released in full, no data was reported on antipsychotic dosages.
Benedict Carey, reporting for the ‘Times, attributed claims that those in the new treatment received the lowest doses of antipsychotics possible to the study’s lead author Dr. John Kane. In the original piece, it was estimated that antipsychotic doses were reduced by 20-50%. On Friday, however, the ‘Times removed these estimates and added the following correction related to the use of antipsychotics in the study:
Correction: October 23, 2015
An article on Tuesday about a study of the treatment of first-episode schizophrenia referred incorrectly to the conclusions of the study. Though it studied a program intended to reduce medication dosages, the researchers do not yet know for sure if dosages were lowered or by how much. Therefore, the study did not conclude “that schizophrenia patients who received smaller doses of antipsychotic medication and a bigger emphasis on one-on-one talk therapy and family support made greater strides in recovery.” (The study did conclude that the alternative treatment program as a whole led to better outcomes.)