Young adults at very high risk of psychotic illness should receive talk therapy rather than antipsychotic drugs as an initial treatment, a new study suggests.
The results might ease fears about overtreating people who have warning signs of psychosis but not a full-blown disease, but the study findings were not conclusive because the number of participants was too small.
"This shows it's quite safe and reasonably effective … to offer supportive psychosocial care to these patients," Dr. Patrick McGorry, an author of the study, told Reuters Health. There is "no evidence to suggest that antipsychotic medications are needed in first-line" treatment, he said.
The clinical trial included 115 clients of a Melbourne, Australia, clinic for young people deemed to be at "ultra-high risk" for a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia.
The study was open to individuals between the ages of 14 and 30 who met at least one of three criteria: having low-level psychotic symptoms, having had previous brief episodes of psychotic symptoms that went away on their own or having a close relative with a psychotic disorder along with low mental functioning during the past year