Raymond Tolentino Aoife McMahon


Introduction: Schizophrenia is a serious psychiatric disorder that significantly impacts a person’s quality of life. This condition is characterized by three groups of symptoms: positive, negative and cognitive. There have been developments of new therapeutic methods for treating schizophrenia, both pharmacological and psychotherapeutic. Antipsychotic drugs such as the second generation antipsychotic olanzapine are often the first course of treatment, for the purpose of controlling symptoms. However, research has determined that using antipsychotics alone may limit its long-term effectiveness and produce adverse effects. Psychosocial interventions like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) aim to reduce psychotic symptoms and prevent relapse when used in conjunction with medication. This review aims to discuss the effectiveness of the integration of olanzapine and CBT, and how these treatments improve symptom reduction, reduce relapse and reduce the occurrence of adverse effects.

Methods: A literature search between the years of 2010 to 2020 was conducted using PubMed and PsycInfo. Keywords included variations of “schizophrenia”, “treatment”, “olanzapine”, and “cognitive behavioural therapy”.

Results: Olanzapine by itself was found to improve symptom reduction, yet showed adverse effects such as weight gain and extrapyramidal symptoms. CBT used as a lone treatment of schizophrenia showed less adverse effects than antipsychotics, yet was significantly less effective than both antipsychotics alone and the combinatorial treatment of CBT and olanzapine. The integration of olanzapine and CBT demonstrated an overall improvement in a schizophrenic patient’s health.

Discussion: The integration of olanzapine and CBT show promise for symptom reduction, relapse prevention, reduced occurrence of adverse side effects, and the overall improvement of one’s health.

Conclusion: Individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia experience emotional, physical and social hardships, thus it is imperative that physicians are aware of current treatments that can be tailored to best treat their patients.

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