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Early use of long-acting injectable antipsychotics in schizophrenia: Are the long-term outcomes positive?

Journal of Clinical Psychiatry Jun 04, 2022

Why this study matters

LAIAPs have demonstrated efficacy in preventing relapses in patients with schizophrenia, yet LAIAPs are underutilized in clinical practice.

Some of the barriers to LAIAP use include lack of familiarity with the medications by physicians, including safety and efficacy data, medication cost, and negative perceptions of LAIAPs by patients and their family members.

This study adds to the collective evidence supporting LAIAPs in patients with a first-episode of schizophrenia and chronic schizophrenia with frequent relapses, and poor social and occupational disabilities.

Study design

Of 19,813 hospitalized patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and treated with oral anti-psychotics (OAPs), 678 were switched to LAIAPs.

The patients who were switched to LAIAPs were sub-grouped into those who had taken OAPs for less than and greater than 3 years. The number of hospital visits and risk for mortality were compared.

Results and conclusion

Of the patients with schizophrenia who switched to a LAIAP within 3 years of initiating OAP treatment (n=312), the all- and natural-cause mortality rates were lower than patients who continued OAPs.

In addition, these patients had lower risks of re-hospitalization, psychiatric hospitalization, and psychiatric emergency department visits.

No differences existed in the relapse or mortality rates between patients who remained on OAPs and patients who were switched to LAIAPs after greater than 3 years.

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