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Original Research

Treatment Journey From Diagnosis to the Successful Implementation of a Long-Acting Injectable Antipsychotic Agent in Young Adults With Schizophrenia

John M. Kane, MDa,b,c,*; Marko A. Mychaskiw, PhDd; Sangtaeck Lim, MPHd; Mark Suett, MDe; Marc Tian, PhDf; and Jose M. Rubio, MDa,b,c

Published: April 19, 2023


Objective: Long-acting injectable antipsychotic agents (LAIs) are effective in schizophrenia relapse prevention but are often underutilized. This study aims to understand treatment patterns leading to a successful LAI implementation following schizophrenia diagnosis in a large dataset that included commercially insured patients in the United States.

Methods: Patients aged 18–40 years with a first schizophrenia diagnosis (per ICD-9 or ICD-10 criteria), successful second-generation LAI implementation (defined a priori as ≥ 90 consecutive days of use), and ≥ 1 second-generation oral antipsychotic agent (OA) were identified from IBM MarketScan Commercial and Medicare Supplemental databases from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2019. Outcomes were measured descriptively.

Results: Of 41,391 patients with newly diagnosed schizophrenia, 1,836 (4%) received ≥ 1 LAI; 202 (< 1%) met eligibility criteria of successful LAI implementation following ≥ 1 second-generation OA. Median (range) time between diagnosis and first LAI was 289.5 (0–2,171) days, time between LAI initiation and successful implementation was 90.0 (90–1,061) days, and time to LAI discontinuation after successful implementation was 166.5 (91–799) days. Before LAI initiation, 58% received ≥ 2 OAs. For 86% with successful LAI implementation, the implementation was accomplished with the first LAI.

Conclusions: In this dataset of mainly commercially insured patients, LAI use in early-phase schizophrenia was very low (4%). For the majority for whom a LAI was successfully implemented per a priori definition, the implementation was accomplished with the first LAI and in a short period of time (90 days). However, even when LAIs were used in early-phase schizophrenia, they were generally not the first therapy, as most patients had several prior OA treatments.

Volume: 84

Quick Links: Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorders

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