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Schizophrenia is arguably the worst disease affecting humankind, costly in both social and financial terms. In the current cost-cutting climate, the focus is on economizing the delivery of health care, including reducing access to prescription drugs. Yet decreasing expenditures on drugs for severe illnesses, such as schizophrenia, is a false economy. Drugs account for only a small proportion of the total costs of treating schizophrenia, with inpatient hospital care comprising the greatest portion of total treatment costs. Thus the use of risperidone, a more effective but more expensive antipsychotic medication, can decrease the total cost of care for patients with chronic schizophrenia by decreasing the need for hospitalization. Fewer days spent in the hospital also often means a better quality of life for patients. This finding is illustrated by case histories of 3 patients, 2 with schizophrenia and 1 elderly patient with behavioral disturbances of dementia
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