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It is delicate to conduct studies with schizophrenic patients, considering that the results may be altered by the medication factor. What strategies should be used to counteract this effect?

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  • $\begingroup$ The only way I can envisage you could counteract the effect of medications they may be on would be to stop their medications for a set period before the study, but I would think it would be unethical to conduct studies on unmedicated schizophrenic patients in this manner $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers May 9 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ Chris, in this type of study and with this type of participant, stopping the medication (even temporarily) is not an option. Even for the reason you already said: there would be an ethical problem. But as serious as that, it's a clinical problem. However, strategies exist and I think the issue is relevant to the topic. I will await some response to the debate. $\endgroup$ – mxeliezer May 9 at 18:36
  • $\begingroup$ The question is confusing to me, maybe if you explain what you are researching it would become clear. What do you mean by the medication factor? Are you looking to study how the disorder unfolds, or how medication affect it without side-effects? $\endgroup$ – agiopnl May 15 at 19:29
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As far as I know, this effect cannot be eliminated by any practical means, other than stratifying the subjects into groups according to type of drug, dosage, duration of use etc. and use statistical testing to look for any differences between the groups with, e.g., linear mixed modeling.

However, a cursory search on Google Scholar yields multiple studies where unmedicated folks were successfully recruited into the study, e.g. Kraguljac et al. (2016).

Reference
- Kraguljac et al., Schizophrenia Bull (2016); 42(4): 1046–55

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  • $\begingroup$ Another alternative is to...not worry about it. It all depends on what your research goals are, and a lot of them that concern clinical outcomes are best done in the circumstances the patients are in, which for many will include medication. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause May 13 at 15:28
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause of course, but it's a real problem for the basic scientists among us who wish to elucidate the etiology and other underlying pathologic mechanisms $\endgroup$ – AliceD May 13 at 18:39

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