New Drug Approved for Schizophrenia Treatment in Teens

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This month the FDA has made a decision relating to the use of new drug INVEGA tablets for adolescent users. Now those between 12-17 years-of-age can use the medication if they are suffering from schizophrenia.

It took a six week trial’s success however, before the new decision was effected, the trial conducted into the efficacy of INVEGA to deal with schizophrenia in adolescents.

These tablets are what are called an atypical antipsychotic, with this drug first being accepted as an adult medication in 2006.

Not Yet Known

Schizophrenia leads to false beliefs and delusions, unusual behaviours, and disorganised thinking, it often starts to show itself in adolescence. Whilst 1% of adults have the condition, the number of teens and adolescents with the condition is not yet known.

Very Serious

Husseini Manji, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., who works for Johnson and Johnson the drug manufacturer, said, “Although rare, schizophrenia in adolescents is a very serious and disabling brain condition that affects every aspect of an adolescent’s life and has significant consequences,”

Unfortunately schizophrenia is a lifelong disease, but early detection and treatment can deal with it, successfully treating it over time. Often when it presents itself in adolescents it is dealt with by a range of means. There is individualised therapy given, other methods and specialised programs developed for the patient.

It was a double blind trial that led to the FDA decision. It was conducted in many different countries with similar results regarding effectiveness, although there were still a number of side effects of use as demonstrated by the double blind trial.

Risk Factors

Five main risk factors have been determined by scientists which serve as predictors as to whether the teen is likely to suffer from schizophrenia either in these formative years or later in their lives.

There are of course levels of schizophrenia which will never develop into full blown versions of the condition, but the risk factors that have been uncovered mainly pertain to the schizophrenia becoming full blown.

1.       The key factors are where there is a genetic likelihood. This will be determined by a family history of the ailment. In this case the genetic likelihood stands to be examined in particular if there is a general decline in the mental condition of the youth.

2.       If there is a higher level of unusual thought than could possibly by ascertained to be normal. These thoughts are particularly relevant to the ailment if the thoughts themselves do not make sense.

3.       If there is what can be regarded as an increase in general suspicion otherwise known as a deep sense of paranoia (a belief that people out to get the youth etc.)

4.       If the youth is demonstrating an inability to deal with the social environment. A change can be noted in the child, if they are increasingly avoiding friends or anything social.

5.       Also a major risk at play on the development of full blown schizophrenia is if the youth is taking any substances, whether those substances are alcohol or controlled substances. If the abuse is current, or if the abuse was in the youth’s past, then there is a direct risk of development of the ailment.

Successful Predictors

It was noted that any of these risks will indeed manifest a much greater likelihood that the condition will develop. It was also noted that of the individuals that took part in the study, eight out of each ten were likely to develop the condition in later life if they were showing at least two of these symptomatic risk factors.


These risk factors are seen as something of a breakthrough, in that it can now be more readily identified if a person is at risk. The scientists involved say that it is as easily gauged, once these parameters are put in place, as say it is to predict if a person is likely to contract a heart ailment.

Normal Life

So too as a result of the arrival of this knowledge, there is hope that more cases of schizophrenia can be prevented. It has been found through observance of treated persons that the earlier the condition is caught and treated then the less severe the ailment will be, and the more capable the person will be of living a normal life.

291 teenagers were taken as subjects in the study, all of which were considered to be at a heightened risk based on a diagnosis. The study took place over an elongated period (Two and a half years) to observe if the condition manifested. Before commencing all of the youths had been diagnosed with prodromal syndrome for schizophrenia. By this diagnosis it is observed that they already were presenting some of the symptoms i.e. paranoia or unusual thoughts.

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