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Predictors of outcome in early-onset psychosis: a systematic review

Covadonga M Díaz Caneja; Laura Pina Camacho; Alberto Rodríguez Quiroga; David Fraguas; Mara Parellada; Celso Arango. Predictors of outcome in early-onset psychosis: a systematic review. NPJ schizophrenia. 1, pp. 14005. 2015. ISSN 2334-265X.


Given the global burden of psychotic disorders, the identification of patients with early-onset psychosis (EOP; that is, onset before the age of 18) at higher risk of adverse outcome should be a priority. A systematic search of Pubmed, Embase, and PsycInfo (1980 through August 2014) was performed to identify longitudinal observational studies assessing correlates and/or predictors of clinical, functional, cognitive, and biological outcomes in EOP. Seventy-five studies were included in the review. Using multivariate models, the most replicated predictors of worse clinical, functional, cognitive, and biological outcomes in EOP were premorbid difficulties and symptom severity (especially of negative symptoms) at baseline. Longer duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) predicted worse clinical, functional, and cognitive outcomes. Higher risk of attempting suicide was predicted by greater severity of psychotic illness and of depressive symptoms at the first episode of psychosis. Age at onset and sex were not found to be relevant predictors of outcome in most multivariate models, whereas studies using bivariate analyses yielded inconsistent results. Lower intelligence quotient at baseline predicted lower insight at follow-up, worse functional outcomes, and a diagnostic outcome of schizophrenia. Biological predictors of outcome in EOP have been little studied and have not been replicated. Lower levels of antioxidants at baseline predicted greater brain volume changes and worse cognitive functioning at follow-up, whereas neuroimaging markers such as regional cortical thickness and gray matter volume at baseline predicted remission and better insight at follow-up, respectively. EOP patients with poorer premorbid adjustment and prominent negative symptoms at initial presentation are at risk of poor outcome. They should therefore be the target of careful monitoring and more intensive interventions to address whether the disease course can be modified in this especially severely affected group. Early intervention strategies to reduce DUP may also improve outcome in EOP.

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