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Keywords:

  • blonanserin;
  • cognition;
  • first-episode schizophrenia;
  • second-generation antipsychotics;
  • subjective well-being

Aims

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the long-term effectiveness and safety of blonanserin, a second-generation antipsychotic drug developed in Japan, in patients with first-episode schizophrenia.

Methods

Twenty-three antipsychotic-naïve patients with first-episode schizophrenia were treated within an open-label, 1-year, prospective trial of blonanserin (2–24 mg/day). Clinical evaluations were conducted at baseline and 2, 6, and 12 months after the start of treatment. The main outcome measures were changes in subjective well-being and subjective quality of life, as assessed by the Subjective Well-being under Neuroleptic treatment scale Short form-Japanese version and the Schizophrenia Quality of Life Scale-Japanese version, respectively. Secondary outcome measures included the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia-Japanese version, laboratory tests, bodyweight, and extrapyramidal symptoms.

Results

Fourteen patients (60.9%) remained on the study at 1 year. In the intention-to-treat analysis, significant improvements were observed in several subscales on the Subjective Well-being under Neuroleptic treatment scale Short form-Japanese version, the Schizophrenia Quality of Life Scale-Japanese version, and the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia-Japanese version, and in all factor scores on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. Improvement in depressive symptoms with blonanserin treatment was positively correlated with improvements in subjective well-being and subjective quality of life, as well as verbal memory. No significant changes were noted for any safety measure during the 1-year study period.

Conclusions

Blonanserin was well tolerated and effective for the treatment of first-episode schizophrenia in terms of subjective wellness, cognition, and a wide range of pathological symptoms. Further large-scale studies are warranted to confirm our findings.