Using Long-acting Injectable Antipsychotics to Enhance the Potential for Recovery in Schizophrenia

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The goals of schizophrenia treatment are to control symptoms, prevent relapse, and improve functioning and quality of life. For many patients, these goals are not being met. This report highlights information provided by experts on the reasons for, impact of, and means to reduce relapse in patients with schizophrenia; on patient-centered and patient-reported assessment; on the benefits and risks of medication options, including long-acting injectable (LAI) antipsychotics; and on psychosocial interventions that may improve adherence and help prevent relapse in individuals living with schizophrenia. Modifiable risk factors for poor outcomes in patients with schizophrenia include longer duration of untreated illness, comorbid substance abuse, early nonresponse to an antipsychotic, and the number of relapses that are related to nonadherence. Recommendations include 1) adopting a patient-centered approach that incorporates the use of patient-reported outcome measures; 2) selecting medications based on a balanced risk-benefit assessment, including a focus on addressing symptoms for which the agents were superior to placebo and/or active controls; 3) considering LAIs as an alternative to oral medications, as they offer benefits such as reliable drug delivery, uncovering nonadherence and pseudo-resistance, and reduced relapse risk and mortality; and 4) implementing psychosocial interventions that have been proven to be effective in improving adherence and overall outcomes.

J Clin Psychiatry 2020;81(4):MS19053AH5C

https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.MS19053AH5C