Nearly half of patients with schizophrenia fail to remain on their medication treatment, which can result in a relapse of symptoms (1,2). Today, data from a new international study showed that patients treated with risperidone long-acting injection (RLAI) had a significantly longer time to relapse (3) compared to patients treated with an oral atypical medication, quetiapine.

The results were presented for the first time at the American Psychiatric Association (APA) 161st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

This 24-month, open-label, active-controlled, comparative international study, was the largest since the 1979 Hogarty study(4) to compare the relapse rates of a long-acting injectable antipsychotic and an oral medication. The objective of the trial was to compare longer-term maintenance therapy of patients with schizophrenia or other related disorders (schizoaffective disorder) treated with RLAI or quetiapine.

"This study provides compelling evidence that RLAI offers a significant benefit to people with schizophrenia in delaying the time to relapse," said Professor Wolfgang Gaebel from the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Heinrich-Heine University in Dusseldorf, Germany and one of the study investigators.

This international study, which enrolled 710 patients (355 randomized to received RLAI [mean dose 32.75 mg] and 355 to receive quetiapine [mean dose 397 mg]), investigated whether treatment with RLAI compared with oral quetiapine, when tested in a routine care setting within general psychiatric services, had an effect on long-term efficacy maintenance as measured by time to relapse.(5)

Results demonstrated that the average relapse-free time was significantly longer in patients treated with RLAI (607 days) compared with quetiapine (533 days), p The study was sponsored by Janssen-Cilag, Medical Affairs EMEA.

Separately, an interim analysis from a two-year U.S. observational study also presented today at APA showed patients taking RLAI had significantly improved functioning within three months after starting treatment. That study enrolled 532 patients from 66 community health centers and Veterans Affairs centers in the United States. Data collection occurred at baseline (month 0) and then every three months up to the two years. At the time of this interim analysis, 107 patients had completed the full two-year period.(7)

The U.S. interim analysis showed an overall significant improvement in patient functioning from serious to occasional impairments following initiation of RLAI (p

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