Long-Acting Injectable Antipsychotics in Schizophrenia: Literature Review and Practical Perspective, with a Focus on Aripiprazole Once-Monthly.
Long-Acting Injectable Antipsychotics in Schizophrenia: Literature Review and Practical Perspective, with a Focus on Aripiprazole Once-Monthly
Introduction: Prevention of relapse is a major challenge in schizophrenia, a disease characterized by poor adherence to antipsychotic medication leading to multiple rehospitalizations and a substantial burden-of-care.
Methods: We narratively review published clinical data from the development of long-acting injectable (LAI) formulations of antipsychotic drugs and examine the comparative effectiveness of oral versus LAIs in schizophrenia, with a focus on the second-generation LAI antipsychotic aripiprazole. Evidence is presented from studies with naturalistic/pragmatic as well as explanatory trial designs, supported by the clinical experience of the authors.
Results: LAI formulations of antipsychotic drugs offer advantages over oral medications and there is good evidence for their use as a first-choice treatment and in younger patients. Key phase III studies have shown aripiprazole once-monthly 400 mg (AOM 400) to be effective and well tolerated, with high rates of adherence and low rates of impending relapse. In a recent randomized trial with a "naturalistic" study design more representative of routine clinical practice, AOM 400 was well tolerated and had significantly greater effectiveness than paliperidone LAI overall and in younger patients aged ≤35 years.
Conclusion: Results across the "full spectrum" of efficacy in traditional clinical trials as well as those encompassing the concept of effectiveness in a more naturalistic setting of real-life clinical practice support the use of AOM 400 as a valid long-term treatment option in schizophrenia overall, as well as earlier in the treatment course, and not solely in situations of poor adherence or when oral antipsychotics have failed.
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