The first set of guidelines ever offered to medical professionals treating schizophrenia that align worldwide standards as a new 'guideline of guidelines' has been launched by an international team of experts.
'Meta-guidelines for the management of patients with schizophrenia' covers the full range of possible current schizophrenia treatments, from pastoral treatments such as therapy through to technological aids like brain imaging and the medications available.
Full spectrum of the condition
The team, drawn from a range of universities and hospitals in the US and UK, has collaborated to make these guidelines the definitive resource for clinicians treating patients across the full spectrum of the condition, from stable through to acute phases.
The guidelines also help clinicians to choose the most evidence-based and up-to-date strategies for determining the right treatment, addressing side effects of medication and other issues commonly encountered in treating patients with schizophrenia.
Most challenging condition
Dr Stephen M. Stahl put together the team that produced the guidelines, bringing in experts from the Universities of California, Texas and Cambridge (UK), California’s Neuroscience Education Institute and beyond.
Dr Stahl explained: "Schizophrenia is one of the most challenging conditions to treat and, up until now, there has been no definitive set of guidelines to help doctors, nurses and other health professionals to judge what a patient needs at any stage of their illness.
"What this expert team has now provided is a ‘guideline of guidelines’, or ‘meta-guidelines’, which bring together the various existing standards and update them with current best practice and new medication. We are confident they will benefit anyone working in the field anywhere across the world."
More complex cases
The guidelines are intended for patients with schizophrenia who are not violent or self-harming and do not have other medical problems.
Dr Stahl says the team is now working on providing a similar set of meta-guidelines for the treatment of these more complex cases.
The guidelines are available at http://journals.cambridge.org/CNSguidelines