• first episode schizophrenia;
  • neuroleptic treatment;
  • outcome;
  • psychotherapy;
  • treatment costs

Objective:  To evaluate ‘need-specific treatment’ of first episode schizophrenia syndrome patients.

Method:  Sixty-one consecutive first episode schizophrenia syndrome patients were followed over 3 years. They were compared with a Historical ‘treatment as usual’ group (n = 41) and a Prospective group from a high quality social and biological psychiatry centre (n = 25).

Results:  Symptomatic and functional outcome was significantly better compared with the Historical group and equal with the Prospective group. During the first year, the direct costs for in- and out-patient care per patient in the Parachute project were less than half of those in the Prospective group.

Conclusion:  The study confirms the feasibility, clinically and economically, with a large scale application of ‘need-specific treatments’ for first episode psychotic patients.