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Open Access Research article

Integrated treatment vs. treatment-as-usual for recent onset schizophrenia; 12 year follow-up on a randomized controlled trial

Víðir Sigrúnarson12*, Rolf W Gråwe3 and Gunnar Morken12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neuroscience, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

2 Department of Psychiatry, St. Olav’s University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway

3 Department of Research and Development, Drug and Alcohol Treatment Health Trust in Central Norway, Trondheim, Norway

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BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:200  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-200

Published: 30 July 2013



The aim of this study is to compare the 12-year follow-up effects on in- and outpatient services of 2 years of integrated treatment for recent-onset schizophrenia versus treatment as usual in a randomized controlled trial.


50 patients aged 18–35 years were randomized to Integrated Treatment (IT) (N = 30) or Treatment-as-Usual (TAU) (N = 20) for two years. TAU comprised optimal pharmacotherapy and outreach assertive treatment, while IT also included cognitive-behavioural family treatment, skills training, strategies for residual psychotic and non-psychotic problems and home-based crisis management.


There were no differences in number of days in hospital, time to readmission, number of admittances to psychiatric wards, number of involuntarily psychiatric admissions or number of outpatient contacts over a period of 12 years following the initial 2-year treatment trial. Fewer patients in the IT group were, however, involuntary admitted to hospital in the period.


The intensive two-year psychosocial intervention seemed to have little long-term effects on use of in- and outpatient services.

Trial registration

Current Controlled Trials: NCT00184509

Schizophrenia; Integrated treatment; Early intervention; Long term outcome