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CME: Improving the treatment and management of schizophrenia: An overview of current and novel approaches

Activity Description / Statement of Need:

In this online CME self-learning activity:

Schizophrenia, by nature, presents manifold challenges to the HCP directing neuropsychiatric care. Not only do practical matters like medication adherence play a role in the success of therapy, but it behooves clinicians to also have a well-informed understanding of the symptomatology and treatment course of the disease. Atypical antipsychotics are the mainstay of initial pharmacotherapy, with oral agents being preferred first. However, they have sometimes been associated with poor patient adherence, which is associated with suboptimal clinical outcomes. In contrast, improving adherence may enhance quality of life and reduce the risk of hospitalization, thereby potentially lowering health resource utilization and its associated costs.

Target Audience:

Healthcare professionals who are: psychiatrists and primary care physicians; nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, and pharmacists who specialize in psychiatry; and those who otherwise commonly care for or clinically encounter patients who have schizophrenia.

Commercial Support Disclosure: This activity is supported by an educational grant from Alkermes.

Learners may participate in this activity free of charge.

Release Date: March 06, 2020 -- Expiration Date: March 06, 2022

Faculty: Samir Sabbag, MD


Faculty introduction, disclosures

Primer on schizophrenia’s epidemiology, neuropathophysiology, presentation, comorbidities, and psychosocial impact

  • Statistics and pathophysiological development and progression
  • Role of receptors
  • Psychosocial and socioeconomic factors
  • Comorbid neuropsychiatric conditions: depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, and substance abuse
  • DSM-IV-revised / DSM-5 criteria and differential diagnosis versus other psychiatric diseases with psychotic features

Updates in schizophrenia treatment and strategies for barriers to care

  • Pharmacotherapy: acute and maintenance
  • Pathophysiology, receptors targeted and effects: D2, D3, 5-HT2A
  • Emerging strategies, trends, and new drug therapies in recent years
  • A multipronged attack aimed at managing comorbid psychiatric conditions
  • Targeting positive vs. negative symptoms
  • Adjunctive therapies
  • Special considerations for different patient populations
  • Treatment principles for inadequate or partial response
  • Barriers to care and how to address – including adherence and long-acting formulations
  • All the rest: ensuring that primary care does not fall by the wayside
  • Best practice: putting it all together
  • Patient case(s)

Summary, conclusions, and best practice recap

Learning Objectives

By the end of the session the participant will be able to:

  • Describe the pathophysiology of schizophrenia and the role the neurotransmitters receptors play in it: D2, D3, 5-HT2A
  • Describe the benefits and risks of pharmacotherapy for schizophrenia and take them into account when formulating a treatment plan for different patients
  • Formulate a treatment plan for a variety of patients with schizophrenia, including those exhibiting only negative symptoms
  • Recommend therapy changes in patients who are unable to tolerate a prescribed treatment
  • Identify barriers to care in patients with schizophrenia and develop** strategies to abate them


ScientiaCME is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation: ScientiaCME designates this online activity enduring material for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ toward the AMA Physician's Recognition Award. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


ABIM MOC Recognition Statement: Successful completion of this CME activity, which includes participation in the evaluation component, enables the participant to earn up to 1.0 MOC points in the American Board of Internal Medicine's (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. Participants will earn MOC points equivalent to the amount of CME credits claimed for the activity. It is the CME activity provider's responsibility to submit participant completion information to ACCME for the purpose of granting ABIM MOC credit.

PhysiciansFor maintenance of certification (MOC) credit, you must enter your board certification ID # and birth date correctly.  It is the learner's responsibility to provide this information completely and accurately at the completion of the activity. Without providing it, the learner will NOT receive MOC credit for this activity. Please note: not all activities on this site provide MOC credit. If this activity does not specify that it provides MOC credit in this section, then it does NOT provide MOC credit.


ScientiaCME is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as a provider of continuing pharmacy education. This activity is approved for 1.0 contact hours (0.1 CEUs) of continuing pharmacy education credit. Proof of participation will be posted to your NABP CPE profile within 4 to 6 weeks to participants who have successfully completed the post-test.   Participants must participate in the entire presentation and complete the course evaluation to receive continuing pharmacy education credit. ACPE # 0574-0000-20-008-H01-P.  ACPE accreditation effective 3/20/20 and expires 3/20/22. This is a Application (A)-type activity.

Pharmacists: You must enter your NABP # and birth date correctly so that proof of participation can be posted to your NABP CPE profile. It is the learner's responsibility to provide this information completely and accurately at the completion of the activity. Without providing it, the learner will NOT receive CPE credit for this activity.

Nurse Practitioners (NPs): The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME.  ScientiaCME will provide NPs who successfully complete each activity with a certificate of participation indicating that the activity was designated for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.

Physician Assistants: The American Academy of Physician Assistants accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

Faculty Disclosure and Resolution of COI

As a provider of continuing medical education, it is the policy of ScientiaCME to ensure balance, independence, objectivity, and scientific rigor in all of its educational activities. In accordance with this policy, faculty and educational planners must disclose any significant relationships with commercial interests whose products or devices may be mentioned in faculty presentations, and any relationships with the commercial supporter of the activity. The intent of this disclosure is to provide the intended audience with information on which they can make their own judgments. Additionally, in the event a conflict of interest (COI) does exist, it is the policy of ScientiaCME to ensure that the COI is resolved in order to ensure the integrity of the CME activity. For this CME activity, any COI has been resolved through content review by ScientiaCME.

Faculty Disclosure: Samir Sabbag, MD, , has no relevant financial disclosures.

Disclosures of Educational Planners: Charles Turck, PharmD, BCPS, BCCCP, President of ScientiaCME, has no relevant financial disclosures.

Commercial Support Disclosure: This activity is supported by an educational grant from Alkermes.


  • Read the learning objectives above
  • Take the Pre-Test (optional). Completion of the pre-test will help us evaluate the knowedge gained by participating in this CME activity.
  • View the online activity. You may view this is in more than one session, and may pause or repeat any portion of the presentation if you need to.
  • Take the post-test
  • Complete the activity evaluation and CME registration. A CE certificate will be emailed to you immediately.

Cultural and Linguistic Competence

System Requirements

Windows 7 or above
Internet Explorer 8
*Adobe Acrobat Reader
Mac OS 10.2.8
Safari or Chrome or Firefox
*Adobe Acrobat Reader
Internet Explorer is not supported on the Macintosh

*Required to view Printable PDF Version

Perform Pre-Test (optional)

Please take a few minutes to participate in the optional pre-test. It will help us measure the knowledge gained by participating in this activity.

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