The Effects of Antipsychotic Medications on Schizophrenic Patients
Clinical research trials can be defined as tests of new medications or devices on human participant subjects. Clinical trial sites participate in operations by which they recruit patients that may be eligible in their studies, and conduct such tests on them. I chose to observe patients diagnosed with schizophrenia participating in clinical research trials at the Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Orange County, where I have been a clinical research assistant for seven months. The focus of my observations has been particularly on the effects of antipsychotic medications on these patients with schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness in which a person generally loses the ability to differentiate between real vs. fake, and have normal social relationships and responses. Schizophrenia is characterized by hallucinations and delusions. As a clinical research assistant at the Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Orange County, I observed the process of clinical trials, and patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and receiving antipsychotic medications participating in these trials. I observed several patients over the period of seven months, who participated in studies pertaining to schizophrenia. Each study focused on different factors contributing to schizophrenia, and was assessed through different means (psychological evaluations and cognitive assessments). I was able to successfully observe the effects of receiving antipsychotic medications in these patients, through these means. Throughout this paper I will discuss the effects of antipsychotics on patients with schizophrenia, and will specifically discuss how some treatment show improvements in both cognitive, and psychosocial functioning, how the increase of dosage affects cognitive functioning, the changes in gray matter volume, and lastly a contradiction from the observations at the site in comparison with literature.
Integration of Prior Research
In a study by Keefe et al. (2007), patients with chronic schizophrenia who are on antipsychotic treatment (i.e. oral medications) showed an improvement in cognitive functioning (e.g. memory, object recognition, etc.). After two months of treatment on different types of antipsychotic medications, there was an improvement show in the neurocognitive composite score. Patients also showed an improvement in PANSS Negative Symptom Scale (i.e., memory and object recognition test) scores after one month (Keefe et al., 2007).
Schizophrenic patients at the Neuropsychiatric Research Center (NRC) were on different antipsychotic medication treatments throughout the duration of several studies. In one study, each patient’s visit consisted of a psychological evaluation, as well as a neurocognitive assessment during which a test known as the PANSS Negative Symptom Scale was performed. Similar to the study’s findings, patients showed a...