New clinical trial for schizophrenia treatment launched

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) researchers are collaborating with the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust to test a new approach to treating schizophrenia.

The research forms part of the ATLANTIS national clinical trial (AnTiconvuLsant AugmeNtation Trial in Schizophrenia), funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

CPFT’s Cambridge Psychosis `Centre, a multi-disciplinary team working in psychosis research to test new therapies and treatments, is supporting ATLANTIS. They provide advice and guidance for the pharmacological management and treatment of complex schizophrenia in cases where people may be resistant to standard treatments.

CPFT is one of five NHS sites to take part in the UK’s first clinical trial to investigate the use of sodium valproate, a licensed anticonvulsant medicine used to treat seizures.

The trust states that currently the main evidence-based treatment for schizophrenia is antipsychotic drugs, however for one in three people, these drugs “don’t help to improve their symptoms… [leading] to additional NHS admissions and healthcare costs, and a worse quality of life for many people with schizophrenia.”

“Working with my teams at the Trust’s Clozapine Clinic and Cambridge Psychosis Centre, I see many people who could benefit from new treatments for schizophrenia to support their recovery,” said Dr Emilio Fernandez-Egea, Co-investigator for ATLANTIS and CPFT Consultant Psychiatrist. “It is our duty to offer them the latest research opportunities and turn scientific discoveries into better mental health care and treatments in our clinics, as quickly as possible.”