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Wednesday, 5 June, 2002, 23:33 GMT 00:33 UK
'Schizophrenia drugs changed my life'
People with schizophrenia have praised the newer drugs
People with schizophrenia have praised the newer drugs
The NHS's drugs advisory body, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, will decide on Thursday if an expensive schizophrenia drug, which has fewer side-effects than older types, should be available on the NHS.

Robert Bayley, 35, from Northampton, has had schizophrenia for almost 20 years, and he tells BBC News Online how switching from to the newer atypical medicines - changed his life for the better.


"I was 16 and still at school, when I was admitted to a local mental hospital.

"I was diagnosed as a psychotic with schizoid tendencies, then eventually diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

"From an early stage, doctors tried me on the old-school antipsychotics.

"I was on them for at least 10 years.


It's not a cure, but it gives you a certain strength

Robert Bayley
"The drugs caused involuntary movement and loss of control of the tongue and mouth which was very distressing, especially in social situations.

"I didn't feel confident to go out and make contact with people.

"I had very bad attacks a couple of times when my oesophagus started to constrict.

"I felt like a zombie, I had no clarity of thought.

"I had a terrible lethargy and all you want to do is be still and you can't do much that's productive in the day.

'More creative'

"I began taking Clozaril (clozapine) in 1993. It can affect your white blood cell count, so you have to have blood tests before you get each prescription, and you start taking it at quite a low dose.

"So it was probably several months before I started to feel the benefits.

"It's not a cure, but it gives you a certain strength and the residual capacity to deal with the illness, which the other drugs didn't do.

"There are side effects, but they're not nearly as distressing as those caused by the old school antipsychotics.

"It's helped me be creative. I write and paint and compose music, and those are things which I was very restricted in being able to do before

"Schizophrenics and manic depressives should have the right to the most effective treatment there is."

See also:

06 Jan 02 | Health
09 Dec 01 | Health
20 Dec 00 | Medical notes
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