In a double-blind design, length of hospital stay, changes in psychiatric symptoms, ward behavior, and posthospitalization treatment recommendations were examined as a function of good or poor premorbid status and medication or placebo treatment in a sample of men with acute schizophrenia. There were few initial differences in psychiatric symptoms or in ward functioning between the premorbid groups. Nevertheless, the good premorbid patients showed more rapid remission of symptoms and, hence, earlier discharge.
Of the patients who were discharged early, more of the good premorbid patients fell in the placebo group in sharp contrast to the discharged poor premorbid patients, who were predominantly in the medication group. This trend toward more rapid improvement among patients with a good premorbid history in the absence of phenothiazines was supported by data indicating they required less posthospitalization medication.