HC Deb 15 December 1969 vol 793 cc913-5
28. Mr. Iremonger

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what recent advances have been made in the treatment of schizophrenia with special reference to the development of biochemical remedies.

Dr. John Dunwoody

In the past few years long-acting preparations of tranquillizing drugs have been developed which are of value in the treatment of schizophrenia. Possible biochemical causes of schizophrenia continue to be investigated, but I am advised that there are as yet no developments which suggest that a specific biochemical treatment is effective.

Mr. Iremonger

Could the hon. Gentleman be specific on two points: first, about the investigations into the Hoffer and Osmond Niacin treatment; second, about the use of injections instead of pills to cut the readmittance rate for discharged schizophrenic patients?

Dr. Dunwoody

I am aware of the experiments of Hoffer and Osmond in the use of Niacin, but I am advised that the results are unproved. However, this drug is available freely under the National Health Service. As regards injections, the position is that drugs of a type which have been used orally for a long time are now available in injection form. They can be much more effective because they guarantee that the patient receives the drug, and they prevent patients relapsing in a much higher proportion of cases than previously.