NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— More than three million people in the U.S. are living with schizophrenia, a chronic brain disorder characterized by delusions and auditory and visual hallucinations. Medications can treat symptoms, but for some with severe schizophrenia, it can be difficult to remember to take a pill every day. Now, an injectable is providing an alternative.
“The FBI is bugging my house.” “My thoughts are being monitored.” “They are coming to get me.”
These are some of the delusions more than 90 percent of people with schizophrenia experience along with auditory and visual hallucinations.
“Schizophrenia can really be detrimental to someone’s brain,” Rakesh Amin, MD, the Chief Medical Officer at Athena Care, told Ivanhoe Newswire.
Advances have been made in medications to control symptoms, but the problem happens when patients stop taking their medications.
Dr. Amin explained, “Once we treat these patients and we get relief of their symptoms, most of these patients are going to stop their medications.”
Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that needs to be managed with continuous medication.
“Once they stop their medications, it can lead to exacerbation of their psychosis,” Dr. Amin added.
Aristada is an injectable that is giving patients an alternative to daily oral medications. It can be given every four, six, or eight weeks and the medicine is slowly released into the body over time. In an international study, patients on Aristada had fewer delusions and hallucinations after 12 weeks.
Dr. Amin stated, “We can provide them an extra layer of protection in terms of treatment adherence but also, an extra layer of protection to help with their brain.”
Aristada is to be administered by a healthcare professional.
Dr. Amin said some side effects include weight gain, muscle contractions, anxiety, insomnia, and headaches. He also said patients who take Aristada should not drink alcohol or take illicit drugs including marijuana because it may interfere with how Aristada works.
Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer, Editor.
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TOPIC: ARISTADA DRUG FOR SCHIZOPHRENIA
REPORT: MB #5019
BACKGROUND: Schizophrenia is a severe and debilitating brain and behavior disorder affecting how a person thinks, feels and acts. People with schizophrenia can have trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy, expressing and managing normal emotions and making decisions. Thought processes may also be disorganized and the motivation to engage in life’s activities may be more difficult. Those with the condition may hear imaginary voices and believe others are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts or plotting to harm them.
DIAGNOSING: People with schizophrenia may experience delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, trouble with thinking and lack of motivation. However, with treatment, most symptoms of schizophrenia will greatly improve, and the likelihood of a recurrence can be diminished. There is no cure for schizophrenia. Schizophrenia affects men and women equally but may have an earlier onset in males. Rates are similar around the world and people with schizophrenia are more likely to die younger than the general population, largely because of high rates of co-occurring medical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.
NEW RESEARCH: A recent finding has suggested that GlyT1 inhibitors might reduce neuroplasticity deficits associated with schizophrenia. Although a Roche GlyT inhibitor, bitopertin, failed to show efficacy in phase 3 trials after generating promising results in phase 2, a recent study with the GlyT1 inhibitor BI425809 did find promising effects on cognitive deficits. A 12-week study reported dose-related performance improvements on the Matric Consensus Cognitive Battery, particularly improvements in processing speed as measured by the Trail-Making Task, but no significant changes in symptoms. The study results also suggested that improvements were greater in patients who were not taking benzodiazepines. GlyT1 inhibitor studies have yet to be conducted in prodromal or early course patients, groups for which an illness phase-related model would predict benefit.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM DR. AMIN:
“So long-acting injectables would strongly, strongly help our patients with adherence to medications, of course, on a monthly or every six or every eight weeks basis. It also just helps our patients probably most likely to have these conversations with their loved ones.”
“Similarly, the impact of long acting injectables on a patient’s quality of life is missing. I think this is a tremendous benefit for their quality of life, for their brain pathology, for their own social life and occupational functioning, and to decrease any kind of impairment for their future would e ideal.”
Meltzer HY, Risinger R, Nasrallah HA, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of aripiprazole lauroxil in acute exacerbation of schizophrenia. J Clin Psychiatry. 2015;76(8):1085-1090. doi:10.4088/JCP.14m09741
Higashi K, Medic G, Littlewood KJ, Diez T, Granstrom O, De Hert M. Medication adherence in schizophrenia: factors influencing adherence and consequences of nonadherence, a systematic literature review. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2013;3(4):200-218.
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