CME: Addressing barriers to optimal care in schizophrenia with pharmacotherapy

Cost: Free

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Activity Description / Statement of Need:

Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder characterized by disrupted neurochemical pathways, thought processes, emotions, and social interactions. While schizophrenia is a heterogeneous disease both across and within patients, it is nonetheless a debilitating disorder for many individuals. An estimated 0.25% to 0.75% of the population suffer from schizophrenia, resulting in about 20.9 million cases and 13.4 million years of life lived with disability worldwide. The goals of treatment for schizophrenia should include not only reducing the number of acute psychotic episodes and reducing the risk for future relapse but also improving quality of life and function beyond symptom relief, such as outcomes related to school, work, and relationships. To achieve these goals, a combination of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions are recommended. Although current guidelines are explicit about the importance of engaging patients in goal setting and valuing patient preferences, psychiatrists not uncommonly undervalue the importance of improving daily living and capacity for work, suggesting an important practice gap.

Target Audience:

Psychiatrists and primary care physicians; nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and pharmacists who specialize in psychiatry; and those who otherwise commonly care for or clinically encounter patients who have schizophrenia.

By the end of the session the participant will be able to:

  • Describe challenges to the successful management of schizophrenia relating to treatment adherence and develop corresponding solutions.
  • Prioritize agents from both first- and second-generation antipsychotics, given a patient case and using patient-centered decision-making.
  • Describe the ways in which understanding of schizophrenia neuropathology has changed and pair that knowledge with treatment mechanisms.
  • List present and emerging treatment options for schizophrenia, including those targeted at negative symptoms and apply them to patient cases using evidence-based medicine.

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