Treatment resistant schizophrenia: Clinical, biological, and therapeutic perspectives

Frederick C. Nucifora, Edgar Woznica, Brian J. Lee, Nicola Cascella, Akira Sawa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Treatment resistant schizophrenia (TRS) refers to the significant proportion of schizophrenia patients who continue to have symptoms and poor outcomes despite treatment. While many definitions of TRS include failure of two different antipsychotics as a minimum criterion, the wide variability in inclusion criteria has challenged the consistency and reproducibility of results from studies of TRS. We begin by reviewing the clinical, neuroimaging, and neurobiological characteristics of TRS. We further review the current treatment strategies available, addressing clozapine, the first-line pharmacological agent for TRS, as well as pharmacological and non-pharmacological augmentation of clozapine including medication combinations, electroconvulsive therapy, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, deep brain stimulation, and psychotherapies. We conclude by highlighting the most recent consensus for defining TRS proposed by the Treatment Response and Resistance in Psychosis Working Group, and provide our overview of future perspectives and directions that could help advance the field of TRS research, including the concept of TRS as a potential subtype of schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104257
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Brain Imaging
  • CBT
  • Clozapine
  • DBS
  • Dopamine
  • ECT
  • Genetics
  • Glutamate
  • Neurobiology
  • Schizophrenia
  • Treatment-Resistant
  • rTMS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology


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