The European First Episode Schizophrenia Trial (EUFEST): Rationale and design of the trial

W. Wolfgang Fleischhacker*, Ireneus P.M. Keet, René S. Kahn, Martina Hummer, Jozef Peuskens, Luchezar G. Hranov, Jan Libiger, Sonja Dollfus, Wolfgang Gaebel, Michael Davidson, Silvana Galderisi, Han Boter, Janusz Rybakowski, Mihai Gheorghe, Juan Jose Lopez Ibor, Goran Sedvall, Anita Riecher-Rössler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Most studies comparing second generation antipsychotics with classical neuroleptics have been conducted in more or less chronic schizophrenia patients. Such studies were usually conducted in highly selected samples, and were generally designed and financed by the manufacturer of the drug tested. These and other facts have stimulated discussions regarding the effectiveness of the new generation of antipsychotics. Aims: The aim of the European First Episode Schizophrenia Trial (EUFEST) is to compare treatment with amisulpride, quetiapine, olanzapine and ziprasidone to a low dose of haloperidol in an unselected sample of first episode schizophrenia patients with minimal prior exposure to antipsychotics. Methods: 500 patients between the ages of 18-40 meeting DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or schizophreniform disorder are randomly allocated to one year of treatment with one of the drugs under study. The primary outcome measure is retention in treatment, defined as time to discontinuation of study drug. Loss of retention can be the result of insufficient clinical effect, or lack of tolerability or acceptance. Secondary measures include changes in different dimensions of psychopathology, side effects, compliance, social needs, quality of life, substance abuse and cognitive functions. Conclusions: At present, more than 400 patients have been recruited and randomized in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, France, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Rumania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland: The study should be finished by the end of 2006 and it is expected that results will yield relevant clinical information with regard to the effectiveness of the second generation antipsychotics. This effort represents the first independently designed trans-European schizophrenia treatment trial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-156
Number of pages10
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Antipsychotics
  • Atypical
  • Clinical trial
  • First-episode
  • Neuroleptics
  • Schizophrenia
  • Second generation


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