July 03, 2005

Injectable Risperidone Safe & Effective?

ANTIPSYCHOTIC THERAPY; Direct transition to long-acting injectable risperidone safe and effective

One of the current drawbacks of many atypical antipsychotics is that they aren't formulated into depot injections. Depot injections are seen as beneficial in the sense that they ususally guarantee compliance. The individual on medication usually gets an injection every couple of weeks (this simplifies the procedure of "taking" medication). Currently, efforts are being made to formulate atypical antipsychotics in injectable form. A new study has examined the antipsychotic risperidone in its recent injectable form:

"Patients symptomatically stable, but considered to require a treatment change, received 25 mg of RLAI (Risperdal long-acting injection) (increased to 375 or 50 mg, if necessary) every 2 weeks for 6 months," explained H.J. Moller and coauthors at the University of Munich. "Assessments included Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), Clinical Global Impression-Severity (CGI-S), Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF), SF-36 Health-Related Quality of Life Questionnaire and Extrapyramidal Symptoms Rating Scale (ESRS)."
"Of 1,876 patients enrolled, 74% completed the 6-month study,"according to the report. "The most frequent reasons for treatment change were non-compliance (38%), insufficient efficacy (33%) and side effects (26%)....Direct initiation of RLAI was effective and well tolerated. RLAI provides an advancement in the treatment options available for a wide range of patients requiring long-term antipsychotic therapy," the researchers concluded.

Though these results look promising, as usual, it's important to be cautious about drawing any solid conclusions, in part because this study was likely to have been funded by the manufacturer of the drug (so the information could be biased). Other factors to consider are: (1) Are you informed about risperidone and other atypical antipsychotics? (2) Has the study been replicated, and if so, were the same results yielded? And (3) what are the known side effects of risperidone?

This study was published in the "International Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology (Efficacy and safety of direct transition to risperidone long-acting injectable in patients treated with various antipsychotic therapies).

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