Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Review
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Clinical benefits and impact of early use of long-acting injectable antipsychotics for schizophrenia.

AIM: Results from clinical trials support the use of oral antipsychotics for treatment of early or first-episode psychosis in patients with schizophrenia. This paper will review literature on the advantages of early initiation of treatment for schizophrenia and the clinical benefits of early use of long-acting injectable antipsychotics (LAIs).

METHOD: A comprehensive literature review was conducted to identify published literature on the use of LAIs early in the treatment of schizophrenia.

RESULTS: Although there is a higher response rate to initial antipsychotic treatment for a first-episode of schizophrenia than with subsequent antipsychotic treatment, we have not effectively addressed this issue. Poor adherence to treatment is a primary cause of relapse and rehospitalization in subsequent years and was associated with higher relapse rates resulting in devastating effects and substantial economic burden. The costs of nonadherence were estimated to be $1.48 billion. Thus, a major challenge with the treatment of schizophrenia is changing poor adherence to persistence with antipsychotic therapy. LAIs are known to be at least as effective as oral antipsychotics for treating schizophrenia, and yet are underutilized. Further, LAIs address many of the problems associated with adherence to oral therapy. Recent evidence suggests that LAIs are effective for treating first-episode psychosis and for early initiation of treatment for schizophrenia.

CONCLUSION: Although consistent antipsychotic treatment represents a critical part of treatment, a person-centred approach to treating schizophrenia is essential for all aspects of care, including establishing and maintaining a therapeutic alliance, strengthening shared decision-making and adherence, and achieving long-lasting recovery.

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