Impact of long-acting injectable antipsychotics on medication adherence and clinical, functional, and economic outcomes of schizophrenia
Gabriel Kaplan,1,2 Julio Casoy,3 Jacqueline Zummo3
1Behavioral Health Services, Bergen Regional Medical Center, Paramus, NJ, USA; 2Department of Psychiatry, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, USA; 3Medical Affairs, Alkermes, Inc., Waltham, MA, USA
Abstract: Schizophrenia is a debilitating chronic disease that requires lifelong medical care and supervision. Even with treatment, the majority of patients relapse within 5 years, and suicide may occur in up to 10% of patients. Poor adherence to oral antipsychotics is the most common cause of relapse. The discontinuation rate for oral antipsychotics in schizophrenia ranges from 26% to 44%, and as many as two-thirds of patients are at least partially nonadherent, resulting in increased risk of hospitalization. A very helpful approach to improve adherence in schizophrenia is the use of long-acting injectable (LAI) antipsychotics, although only a minority of patients receive these. Reasons for underutilization may include negative attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs of both patients and health care professionals. Research shows, however, significant improvements in adherence with LAIs compared with oral drugs, and this is accompanied by lower rates of discontinuation, relapse, and hospitalization. In addition, LAIs are associated with better functioning, quality of life, and patient satisfaction. A need exists to encourage broader LAI use, especially among patients with a history of nonadherence with oral antipsychotics. This paper reviews the impact of nonadherence with antipsychotic drug therapy overall, as well as specific outcomes of the schizophrenia patient, and highlights the potential benefits of LAIs.
Keywords: adherence, long-acting injectable, antipsychotics, schizophrenia, discontinuation, relapse