NCSP Supports More Treatment Options for Schizophrenia
Text from letter to FDA from NCSP:
The undersigned organizations are committed to preventing suicide through education, public
awareness, research, crisis and support services and advocacy. The Advisory Committee process
presents an opportunity for the NCSP to bring to people’s attention the significant public health
problem of suicide and attempted suicide by people who suffer from serious mental illnesses such as
mood disorders, schizophrenia and substance abuse disorders. With over 32,000 deaths by suicide each
year, suicide is a leading cause of premature death, years of potential life lost and tremendous economic
and social impact on the citizens of this country.
Research shows that schizophrenia is a serious psychiatric disorder that affects up to 1% of the world’s
population. It is characterized by severe, but variable symptoms including delusions, hallucinations,
disorganized and impeded speech or behavior, blunted or restricted mood expression, profound apathy
and social withdrawal. This substantial social impairment often leads to a variety of social, educational,
occupational and environmental stresses including among other things unemployment, alcohol and drug
abuse, and contact with law enforcement. Many may not know that schizophrenia is also associated
with increased morbidity and mortality. People with schizophrenia have an estimated 2-3 fold increase
in mortality compared to the general population. About 50% of patients with schizophrenia will attempt
suicide and approximately 10% will die by suicide.
Patients suffering from schizophrenia who seek medication as part of a combined therapy and medical
treatment regimen often move through various therapies, looking for improved efficacy as
approximately 30% of patients are not satisfactorily responsive to currently available medications.
While we are not supporting any particular medication or form of treatment for schizophrenia, we do
support there being a wide range of treatment alternatives for those suffering with this debilitating and
at times fatal disease.