U Study To Assess New Drug Treatment

U Study To Assess New Drug Treatment

Oct 2, 2005 6:00 PM

Most of the 2.2 million adult Americans who suffer from schizophrenia began showing signs and symptoms of the illness in their late teens and early twenties. A new study is examining a possible treatment for teenagers with the disease.

The Mood Disorders Clinic at University of Utah Hospitals & Clinics is one of 53 clinical sites across the country chosen by Otsuka Maryland Research Institute, Inc. (OMRI) to participate in an investigation of the medication aripiprazole as a treatment option for adolescents with schizophrenia. The drug was approved in 2002 by the FDA for treating adults with schizophrenia.

The U is seeking up to 10 adolescents, ages 13 to 16, with schizophrenia to participate in the 10-week trial. At the study's conclusion, participants may receive the option to enter a six-month extension. Approximately 350 teenagers across the nation will participate in the study.

Poonam Soni, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Utah School of Medicine, said the study will help evaluate the safety and effectiveness of using aripiprazole to treat teenage patients. "It is important for us to learn more about adolescent schizophrenia and successful ways for treating it, since the adolescent years are typically when an individual begins to show signs of the disease," Soni said. "In the process, we can also better educate the community on the symptoms of schizophrenia and what parents can do if they think their teen is experiencing any of the signs."

Schizophrenia is an illness characterized by extreme changes in mood, energy and behavior. Signs and symptoms can be difficult to recognize in children as they differ from symptoms in adults. Affected teens may experience delusions, hallucinations, thought disorder and negative symptoms resulting from social or academic problems.

For more information on the study, call (801) 585-MOOD.

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