Magazin

2007-10-10

New Survey Conveys Fundamental Shift in the Perceptions of Treatment Outcomes in Schizophrenia


Leuven, Belgium (ots/PRNewswire) -

- EUFAMI Survey Shows Carers Across Europe Believe in Remission asa Realistic Treatment Goal for Many People Living With Schizophrenia

A large majority of families who care for someone withschizophrenia are confident that many people with the disease canlead independent, fulfilling lives with the ability to have apart-time job when having optimal control over their symptoms. Theseresults announced today on World Mental Health Day, are findings froma European survey of over 320 families and carers of people withschizophrenia conducted between July and September 2007 by EUFAMI(European Federation of Associations of Families of People withMental Illness).

"This survey tells us that, while families are realistic about thepossible outcomes for people with schizophrenia, they believe inremission as a positive and sensible treatment goal," Kevin Jonesfrom EUFAMI commented. "At EUFAMI we are confident that thisoptimistic outlook, together with developments in how the disease ismanaged, will contribute to improving outcomes for those having tocope with schizophrenia."

An estimated 6.6 million people in Europe suffer fromschizophrenia:(1) a serious mental illness characterised bydisturbances in the thoughts, perceptions, emotions and behaviour ofa person. People with schizophrenia and their families are not onlyimpacted by the disease itself but also by the stigma and negativeperception that the disorder has in the public eye. Due to advancesin the knowledge and treatment of schizophrenia over the last 50years, the expected treatment outcomes have dramatically improved,moving from symptom control or stability into more positive outcomessuch as sustained remission, functional remission and recovery. Whilethe concept of remission is already in use for other medicaldisciplines it represents new thinking for schizophrenia andindicates a level at which only minimal key symptoms are presentwhich do not interfere with the person's daily life.

The survey proved that the positive advances in the management ofschizophrenia clearly resonate with carers as 76% believe thatremission is achievable for people living with schizophrenia.

"Remission in schizophrenia signifies a dramatic advancement inits management and demonstrates an improvement in the person'scondition to the point where it can be hard to tell that theyactually suffer from the condition. The survey highlighted thatrehabilitation into the family, workplace and society is becoming amuch more realistic goal to strive towards," said Kevin Jones.

Healthcare professionals however, are perceived by families andcarers as being less optimistic about the possible treatment outcomesof schizophrenia. The concepts of remission or recovery were notdiscussed with the majority of carers and only a small number wereintroduced to treatment goals with a positive stance. If outcomeswere discussed by the healthcare professionals, families were toldthat the most likely outcome was that the symptoms of schizophreniawere likely to continue and impact their everyday life.

The survey also looked at what factors were important in achievingand maintaining remission in people with schizophrenia, and 81% ofthe carers surveyed felt that the chances of achieving remissionwould be improved if appropriate treatment is instigated shortlyafter diagnosis. Sadly, the survey also showed that in theirexperience, accurate diagnosis often takes five years or more.

In order to stay in remission and prevent relapses, adherence totreatment was identified by carers as the most important factor inmedical management of the disease. However, the survey alsohighlighted a number of reasons why people with schizophrenia maystruggle to adhere to their medication long-term. The most commonreasons as indicated by carers were treatment side effects and lackof education both regarding the condition and the possible benefitsof staying on treatment.

Interim survey results were presented as part of the IV EUFAMIcongress 'Touching the Stars' in ToruÅ, Poland on 16th September2007.

Further information and detailed survey results can be obtained byvisiting http://www.eufami.org or contacting Kevin Jones at EUFAMI.

Notes to Editors:

About EUFAMI

EUFAMI, founded in 1992 and based in Belgium, is the EuropeanFederation of Associations of Families of People with mental illnessand represents the voice of families and carers at the Europeanlevel. It has 50 member associations from 28 countries across Europe.A founding principle of EUFAMI is that the rights of families as agroup must be established and recognised. EUFAMI is committed to workfor the improvement of care and welfare for people affected by mentalillness. Further information is available at http://www.eufami.org.

About the survey

The quantitative online survey was conducted by GfK HealthCare - aLondon-based market research agency specialising in thepharmaceutical and healthcare sectors - on behalf of EUFAMI forcarers/families of people with schizophrenia. 325 respondentscompleted the survey (covering a total of 21 countries), all of whomwere screened to ensure that they lived within Europe and were acurrent 'carer' of a patient diagnosed with schizophrenia. Thefieldwork took place during the period 25th June and 16th September2007 inclusive. The survey was funded by an educational grant fromJanssen-Cilag.

About remission

Remission in schizophrenia means the person's condition hasimproved so much that the core symptoms of schizophrenia (those thatlead to the diagnosis of schizophrenia) are so low that the personcan generally function as well as they did before they werediagnosed. In fact, it becomes quite hard to tell that the personactually suffers from schizophrenia. This improvement must have beenseen for at least six months before they can be clinically defined asbeing 'in remission'.

To 'recover' from schizophrenia means that the person iscompletely symptom free and their day-to-day functioning is no longerlimited by the illness.

Further survey results

Survey results are available at http://www.eufami.org or bycontacting Kevin Jones at EUFAMI or Clare Pressney at ResoluteCommunications.

References

(1). WHO Media Centre. Available at: http://www.euro.who.int/mediacentre/PressBackgrounders/2001/20011128_1 Accessed on 26.09.07

ots Originaltext: EUFAMIIm Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.de

Contact:For further information contact: Kevin Jones, Secretary General, EUFAMI, Diestsevest 100, 3000 Leuven, Belgium, Tel: +32-16-74-50-42, Email: secr.general.office@eufami.org or Clare Pressney, Resolute Communications, Tel: +44-(0)207-357-8187, Email: clare.pressney@resolutecommunications.com

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