Relapse and Rehospitalization: Comparing Oral and Depot Antipsychotics




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A review of studies that compared conventional oral and depot antipsychotic medications highlighted the following points. Mirror-image studies in which patients served as their own controls provided evidence of substantial benefit for depot injectable medications. The randomized clinical trials did not, in general, support the findings of significant decrease in relapse rates between these 2 routes of administration. Across the studies reviewed, the 1-year relapse rate for long-acting depot medication was 27% compared with 42% for patients who received oral medication. The 27% risk of relapse in patients who received guaranteed depot medication suggests that relapse is not always driven by noncompliance. In the only study that lasted for 2 years, the risk of relapse decreased substantially in the depot-treated patients, suggesting that risk of noncompliance may be a more important factor in relapse over extended periods of time. A recent formal meta-analytic review of depot medications concluded that this route of administration resulted in clinical advantages in terms of global outcome.

J Clin Psychiatry 2003;64(suppl 16):14-17