April 9, 2019 / 11:04 AM / 5 months ago

Long-acting injectable drugs could help schizophrenics stay on medication longer

April 9 (Reuters) - Alkermes Plc said on Tuesday its long-acting injectable therapy for schizophrenia has helped reduce symptoms and can become an effective option for ensuring patients stay on medication even after being discharged from hospital.

The six-month study showed that Alkermes’ Aristada, given every two months, was as effective as Johnson & Johnson’s monthly injectable Invega Sustenna, with both helping to achieve statistically significant improvements in schizophrenia symptoms.

In comparison to long-acting therapies (LATs), commonly prescribed oral antipsychotics are to be taken daily and a brief disruption in treatment can worsen symptoms.

“The results validate the role that long-acting atypical antipsychotics can play in rapidly and effectively stabilizing patients in the hospital and supporting their continuity of care after discharge,” study investigator Dr. Jelena Kunovac said in a statement.

LATs for schizophrenia could eliminate the burden of taking daily oral antipsychotics and support medication adherence. However, only 11 percent of patients with schizophrenia in the United States are treated with LATs.

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling brain disorder, marked by hallucinations and depression, that affects more than 2.4 million people in the United States.

Reporting by Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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