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The future: towards long acting atypical antipsychotics

Patient's compliance plays a crucial role, in the long-term outcome in schizophrenia. Long acting antipsychotics, have the potential to improve compliance, and therefore sustain symptoms remission, prevent relapses, patient's readmission, and overall improve level of functioning and patient's quality of life. However, conventional antipsychotics reveal low efficacy and high side effect profile. On the other hand, oral atypical antipsychotics have proven a better safety profile and an improvement in patient's cognitive function, which leads anyway to better compliance. Thus, risperidone long acting injection, is an important development in schizophrenia treatment; one step further of the development of the oral atypical antipsychotics. Biweekly injections, after a starting four weeks latency period, provide relatively little fluctuation in risperidone plasma levels, compared with oral intake. This gives the patient continuous antipsychotic cover and reduces the risk of adverse effects that can occur when plasma levels peak. After administration of risperidone long acting injection, the polymer matrix encapsulating the drug gradually degrades, giving a slow, steady release of active drug over six to seven weeks. Risperidone long acting injection is well tolerated. Both 12-week and one year trials, reported a low risk of side effects, which makes medication much more acceptable to the patients, so they are more likely to continue taking it. Schizophrenic patients needing long term treatment can take advantage of the wide-ranging benefits of risperidone long acting injection.

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Sakkas, P. The future: towards long acting atypical antipsychotics. Ann Gen Hosp Psychiatry 2 (Suppl 1), S27 (2003).

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