Safety and efficacy of long-acting risperidone in schizophrenia: a 12-week, multicenter, open-label study in stable patients switched from typical and atypical oral antipsychotics

Jean-Pierre Lindenmayer, Els Eerdekens, Sally A Berry, Mariëlle Eerdekens
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2004, 65 (8): 1084-9

BACKGROUND: The safety and efficacy of the first long-acting injectable atypical antipsychotic, risperidone, were assessed in stable patients with schizophrenia switched from oral antipsychotic medications.

METHOD: Data were collected between July 1, 2001, and October 25, 2002. The study population included patients from clinics, hospitals, and physicians' offices. After a 4-week run-in period, symptomatically stable patients with schizophrenia (DSM-IV) who had been taking haloperidol (N = 46), quetiapine (N = 45), or olanzapine (N = 50) received 25 mg of long-acting risperidone. The oral antipsychotics were continued for 3 weeks after the first injection of long-acting risperidone. Injections were administered every 2 weeks at 25 mg up to a maximum dose of 50 mg for 12 weeks in this multicenter, open-label study.

RESULTS: Long-acting risperidone was well tolerated. Of the 141 patients who participated in the study, the most frequently reported adverse events were insomnia (16%), headache (15%), psychosis (11%), and agitation (11%). The mean increase in body weight was 0.4 kg. No other clinically relevant laboratory abnormalities or significant electrocardiogram changes were observed during the 12-week treatment. Extrapyramidal Symptom Rating Scale total scores were reduced during treatment with long-acting risperidone. Improvements in symptoms of schizophrenia were observed with long-acting risperidone at week 4 and continued through the 12-week treatment with significant reductions in total Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) scores at week 8 (-2.5, p <.01) and week 12 (-3.9, p <.001). At endpoint, 37% (50/135) of these stable patients were rated as clinically improved (> or = 20% decrease in PANSS total scores).

CONCLUSIONS: Switching treatment from oral antipsychotics to long-acting risperidone without an intervening period of oral risperidone was safe and well tolerated. Long-acting risperidone also significantly reduced the severity of symptoms in these stable patients with schizophrenia.

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