Depot antipsychotics: Where do we stand?

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BACKGROUNDNonadherence to medication is a major problem for patients with schizophrenia. To counter this problem, pharmaceutical companies began developing depot antipsychotics. Although there are currently 5 first-generation and 6 second-generation depot antipsychotics available worldwide (), many physicians are still reluctant to use this category of drug initially. This review provides the latest information about the use of depot antipsychotics in schizophrenia treatment as well as several studies in support of depot antipsychotic use as first-line treatment for patients with schizophrenia.METHODSA systematic review of 4 milestone schizophrenia studies was performed to provide an aggregate analysis of the history and use of depot antipsychotics. Results and findings from several clinical trials—the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE), European First Episode Schizophrenia Trial (EUFEST), A Comparison of Long-Acting Injectable Medications for Schizophrenia (ACLAIMS), and Paliperidone Palmitate Research in Demonstrating Effectiveness (PRIDE)—were summarized to provide more information on the development and evolution of depot antipsychotics, common factors that contribute to nonadherence, and guidelines for each long-acting injectable currently available.RESULTSThe CATIE schizophrenia study revealed a 74% rate of discontinuation of oral antipsychotics within 6 months of use. Similar findings from the EUFEST study indicated that 42% of participants discontinued oral medications after 12 months of use. The ACLAIMS study reported no statistically significant difference in efficacy failure rate between haloperidol decanoate and paliperidone palmitate. The PRIDE study found that first hospitalization or arrest was 43% higher among patients in the oral antipsychotic group vs the depot group during the study.CONCLUSIONSThis review provides clinical evidence to support the use of depot formulations as first-line treatment for patients with schizophrenia, which may improve adherence and thereby lower risk of relapse, suicide, rehospitalization, and incarceration.

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