Ziprasidone has been found in studies and practice to be efficacious and tolerated well but has not been well studied or well accepted in the very severely ill in State Hospitals. This study aims to fill that gap by examining 75 patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who require a change of medication because of poor response or unacceptable side effects.
After signing consent and having a baseline assessment they will, if necessary, be reduced to one antipsychotic then started on ziprasidone, increasing to 160mg the second day. The one antipsychotic they had been on will be reduced over a week and stopped. The ziprasidone can be increased to 240mg after three weeks if necessary.
The study will last eight weeks with efficacy assessed by Clinical Global Impressions (CGI), Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) every two weeks and Brief Assessment of Cognition, Calgary Depression Scale for Schizophrenia, Personal Evaluation of Transitions in Treatment and Medical Outcomes Study Cognitive Questions at the beginning and end. Side effects will be measured by movement disorder scales (Simpson-Angus scale for Parkinsonism (SANRS), Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS) and Barnes Akathisia Scale (BAS)), ECG and weight and blood metabolic measures.
The hypothesis is that ziprasidone will be generally effective and that side effects especially metabolic indices will be reduced.