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Activity Dates: 04/22/2013 - 04/22/2016

This course is closed. Please look for other available products in CPNP University.

Target Audience

If you are a pharmacist, nurse practitioner or other healthcare professional involved in the comprehensive medication management of psychiatric and/or neurological patients, we invite you to participate in this online course.

Session Summary

Schizoaffective disorder (SZA), since its introduction 80 years ago, has raised considerable controversy regarding its distinction from schizophrenia and mood disorders, as well as its validity as an independent diagnostic category. DSM-IV-TR allows diagnosis of SZA based upon a current episode of illness, leading to its common use in acute care settings.  The proposed changes in DSM-5 for SZA will require consideration of the lifetime of illness, which will significantly reduce the prevalence of SZA. The most consistent findings in SZA literature are that SZA is often used incorrectly by clinicians, and SZA has very low diagnostic reliability over time. Increasing evidence that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder share genetic mechanisms creates further uncertainty about the diagnosis of SZA. An evidence-based approach to the treatment of SZA is not feasible since so few studies have been done to specifically evaluate antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and their combinations.  Rather, treatment must rely on the evidence base established for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression with treatment decisions guided by presenting symptoms. Because a diagnosis of SZA requires meeting criteria for schizophrenia, antipsychotic drugs are the primary treatment for SZA. Recommendations for acute treatment of SZA bipolar type is an antipsychotic drug, with a mood stabilizer added for depressive symptoms, while maintenance treatment is an atypical antipsychotic alone or in combination with a mood stabilizer. Treatment of SZA depressive type has virtually no literature basis, but an antipsychotic plus antidepressant, or antipsychotic plus a mood stabilizer is recommended.

Course Requirements

You will proceed through the following steps to satisfactorily complete this course:

  • Review the full content of the activity and reflect upon its teachings.
  • Complete the post-test at the end of the activity no later than the closing activity date. (login first)
  • Complete the evaluation at the end of the activity. (login first)
  • Receive a passing grade (60%).
  • Provide the necessary details in your profile to ensure correct reporting by CPNP to CPE Monitor. (login first)

This course is provided online at cpnp.org and consists of the speaker audio and slides. A PDF file of the slides is also provided and access is available to participants indefinitely although ACPE credit is available only through the course expiration date.

Participants in this course must complete an examination and achieve a score of 60% or greater. Successful completion of the course also requires the completion of a course evaluation. ACPE statements of credit can be retrieved by participants online at cpnp.org immediately upon successful completion of the course.

Faculty Information and Disclosures

Learning Objectives

  1. Analyze the controversies surrounding the diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder.
  2. Contrast the diagnosis, etiology, and genetics of schizoaffective disorder with other psychotic disorders.
  3. Evaluate the available literature on the pharmacological treatment of schizoaffective disorder.
  4. Develop an individualized treatment plan for patients with schizoaffective disorder to optimize treatment outcomes.

Continuing Education Credit and Disclosures

Activity Dates: 04/22/2013 - 04/22/2016
ACPE Contact Hours: 1.0
ACPE Number: 0284-0000-13-008-H01-P (Application)
Nursing Credit Reminder: Note that ACPE credit is accepted for certification renewal.

ACPEThe College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education. This self-study course provides 1.0 contact hours (0.01 CEUs) of knowledge-based continuing education credit from CPNP approved programming. The ACPE universal program number assigned to this course is 0284-000-13-008-L01-P (1.0 contact hours).

ACPE approved contact hours are accepted for ANCC Certification Renewal (see pages 5 and 6): At least 50% (37.5 hours) of your 75 continuing education hours must be formally approved continuing education hours. Formally approved continuing education hours meet one or more of the criteria listed below:

  1. Continuing nursing education (CNE) approved for nursing contact hours by an accredited provider or approver of nursing continuing education
  2. Continuing medical education (CME) approved for CME hours
  3. Sponsored by organizations, agencies, or educational institutions accredited or approved by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) or the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) or the Commission on Dietetic Registration

Grant Support

Annual Meeting Grant Provider


BCPP Recertification Grant Provider


This activity is supported by an educational grant from Lilly USA, LLC. For further information concerning Lilly grant funding visit www.lillygrantoffice.com.