Diverse pharmacologic agents have been reported to be effective in treating negative schizophrenic symptoms (NSS). In light of this large and growing literature, as well as of reconceptualizations of the underlying pathophysiology of NSS, the time may have come to reject models that assume "irreversibility" of NSS. However, flaws in existing studies prevent closure regarding the reversibility of, and by inference the treatability of, NSS. Guidelines for future studies are articulated, e.g., the need to distinguish primary from secondary NSS, to include drug-free subjects with a predominance of NSS in clinical trials, and to use well-validated and psychometrically sound instruments for assessing NSS.
Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY.,