Patients with schizophrenic illnesses often fail to make a full recovery. Only about 25% of patients in western countries remain symptom-free after recovery from a first episode of acute schizophrenia.1–3 Antipsychotic medication suppresses symptoms and reduces the frequency of relapse, but the continuing underlying illness will cause many schizophrenics to relapse when these drugs are stopped. This article assesses the long-term benefits and risks of continuing or discontinuing antipsychotic therapy for schizophrenia.
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