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Keywords:

  • schizophrenia;
  • psychotic disorders;
  • therapeutics;
  • treatment outcome;
  • prognosis

Objective:  Recent work has focussed on schizophrenia as a ‘deficit’ state but little attention has been paid to defining illness plasticity in terms of symptomatic remission.

Method:  A qualitative review of a recently proposed concept of remission [N.C. Andreasen, W.T. Carpenter Jr, J.M. Kane, R.A. Lasser, S.R. Marder, D.R. Weinberger (2005) Am J Psychiatry 162: 441] is presented.

Results:  The proposed definition of remission is conceptually viable, and can be easily implemented in clinical trials and clinical practice. Its increasing acceptance may reset expectations of treatment to a higher level, improve documentation of clinical status and facilitate dialogue on treatment expectations. The availability of validated outcome measures based on remission will enhance the conduct and reporting of clinical investigations, and could facilitate the design and interpretation of new studies on cognition and functional outcomes. While useful as a concept, it is important to consider that remission is distinct from recovery.

Conclusion:  The introduction of standardized remission criteria may offer significant opportunities for clinical practice, health services research and clinical trials.