Ultra High-Risk Patients With Schizophrenia at Long-Term Risk for Psychotic Disorder



Ultra high-risk (UHR) patients with schizophrenia appear to be at long-term risk for psychotic disorder, with the highest risk during the first two years after entry to a specialist clinic according to a study by Barnaby Nelson, Ph.D., of the University of Melbourne, Australia.

The study included 416 UHR patients in a follow-up of a group of UHR patients who were recruited to participate in research studies between 1993 and 2006. Researchers assessed the transition to psychotic disorder in UHR patients up to 15 years after study entry.

Study results indicate that 114 of the 416 patients were known to have developed a psychotic disorder during the follow-up time (2.4-14.9 years after presentation). While the highest risk was within the first two years, individuals continued to be at risk up to 10 years after initial referral.

“Services should aim to follow up patients for at least this period, with the possibility to return for care after this time. Individuals with a long duration of symptoms and poor functioning at the time of referral may need closer monitoring,” the study concludes.

(JAMA Psychiatry. Published online June 5, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.1270.