The management of schizophrenia: focus on extended-release quetiapine fumarate
Universitair Psychiatrisch Centrum KU Leuven, Campus St Jozef Kortenberg, Kortenberg, Belgium
Abstract: Effective management of schizophrenia remains a significant clinical challenge. While antipsychotic medications have proven efficacy in this disease, there remains an opportunity to further improve symptom control and long-term relapse prevention. Also, a number of factors, including tolerability and complex dosing regimens, can result in nonadherence to medication. Quetiapine is an atypical antipsychotic with proven efficacy and an established tolerability profile in schizophrenia. The once-daily extended-release formulation (quetiapine XR) offers a simplified dosing regimen and titration schedule. Short-term clinical studies have shown that quetiapine XR (400–800 mg/d) is efficacious in the acute treatment of schizophrenia, while a long-term study has shown that quetiapine XR was significantly more effective than placebo at preventing relapse. Furthermore, an investigation in which stable patients switched from the immediate-release formulation (quetiapine IR) to quetiapine XR showed that quetiapine XR is generally well tolerated and has no loss of efficacy compared with quetiapine IR. In patients who experienced insufficient efficacy or poor tolerability on their previous antipsychotic, switching to quetiapine XR significantly improved efficacy compared with the previous treatment. In conclusion, quetiapine XR is an effective and generally well tolerated treatment for schizophrenia. Furthermore, once-daily dosing may improve patient adherence, which may impact positively on patient outcomes.
Keywords: adherence, atypical antipsychotics, adverse events