Statistical validation of the criteria for symptom remission in schizophrenia: Preliminary findings

Opler, Mark; Yang, Lawrence; Caleo, Sue; Alberti, Philip

Background: Published methods for assessing remission in schizophrenia are variable and none have been definitively validated or standardized. Andreasen et al (2005) suggest systematic operational criteria using eight PANSS items for which patients must score ≤ 3 (mild) for at least six months. Methods: Using data from a one year, multi-site clinical trial (n = 675) remission criteria were compared to total PANSS scores and other endpoints and demonstrate excellent agreement with overall clinical status. Results: Compared to total PANSS score of 60 points and other criteria, at time points > 6 months (8 and 12 months) the specificity of the remission criteria was 85%, i.e. of the patients who had a total score >60, 85% were classified as "not in remission." Sensitivity was also very high; 75% of patients with scores of <60 were classified as "in remission." Patients who dropped out of the trial were more likely not to be in remission prior to dropping out. Conclusion: These findings indicate that the remission criteria are both sensitive and specific indicators of clinical status. Additional analyses are required to determine if remission status predicts other outcomes, such as employment, independent living, and prognosis.


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BMC Psychiatry

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September 9, 2014