All the media hubbub surrounding the recent publication of the RAISE study has been somewhat confusing. A sampler of headlines includes; Game Changer? (HuffPo); New Approach Advised to Treat Schizophrenia (New York Times); New York Times Issues Correction on RAISE Study Report; Landmark Study Recommends More Therapy, etc… What is one to make of all the fanfare and conflicting commentary?
I was a psychiatrist who participated in the Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode Early Treatment Program (RAISE ETP). Although I welcomed the positive headlines that heralded the study's results, the reports left me with mixed feelings. What happened to render the notion that talking to people about their experiences and helping them find jobs or go back to school is something novel?
Dr. Mickey Nardo adds to the ongoing discussion about the RAISE study results. He writes: “If there is ‘spin’ in the reporting of this study, we need to know about it. I personally think that it’s more important for RAISE to be reported completely and honestly than whether it comes out like they [or I] want it to come out. We don’t need some sanitized version of RAISE to tell us we need to turn our attention to a full bodied approach to the treatment of First Episode psychotic patients. We all already know that. What we do need is to have our confidence restored in our research community – that they will honestly and clearly report their findings whether they are clean as a whistle or an unholy mess.”
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 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Now, claims made about the study, which the ‘Times called “the most rigorous trial to date,” are coming under increased scrutiny.
Writing on his 1 Boring Old Man blog, Dr. Mickey Nardo reflects on the media frenzy around the RAISE study and asks why the prescription data has not been released. He adds skepticism about the political motives of the potentially overblown results, which he sees as a clear push for increased mental health funding.
Yesterday, the New York Times reported that schizophrenia patients in an experimental treatment program (RAISE) who experienced better outcomes had been on lower doses of antipsychotics than normal. However, the article published in the American Journal of Psychiatry on Tuesday did not divulge any data on the varying antipsychotic drug doses in the different study groups.
Results of a large government-funded study call into question current drug heavy approaches to treating people diagnosed with schizophrenia. The study, which the New York Times called “by far the most rigorous trial to date conducted in the United States,” found that patients who received smaller doses of antipsychotic drugs with individual talk therapy, family training, and support for employment and education had a greater reduction in symptoms as well as increases in quality of life, and participation in work and school than those receiving the current standard of care.