New Medication For The Treatment Of Schizophrenia Significantly Reduces Symptoms And Improves Patients’ Daily Lives(1,2)
INVEGA™ controls symptoms around the clock and may reduce the risk of some drug interactions, which can be a problem in the treatment of schizophrenia
Toronto, ON .- Health Canada has approved INVEGA™ (paliperidone) for the treatment of schizophrenia.1 INVEGA™ is the only once-daily oral treatment for schizophrenia that uses a unique OROS® technology designed to deliver and sustain a controlled level of medication throughout the day.1 Moreover, INVEGA™ is not extensively metabolized in the liver, which may mean fewer drug interactions for patients.1,3
People with schizophrenia are often on more than one medication (called polypharmacy) for conditions including anxiety disorders, depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, HIV and hepatitis C.3 In fact, studies have shown that 43 per cent of patients on an atypical antipsychotic are on five or more other medications.4 Taking several drugs along with antipsychotic medication can alter the potency of the medication and may lead to serious and potentially life-threatening adverse events.3 Thus, reducing the risk of drug interactions in the treatment of schizophrenia is an important consideration.
“People with schizophrenia are an extremely difficult population to treat and finding the right therapy can be a challenge,” said Dr. Roger McIntyre, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, University of Toronto and psychiatrist at Toronto Western Hospital. “The approval of INVEGA™ is good news because not only will it consistently control symptoms around the clock, but it’s also an effective option that may help in managing some of the risks associated with polypharmacy -- something that is an unfortunate reality when treating people with schizophrenia.”
In placebo-controlled clinical trials, INVEGA™ was shown to significantly improve the symptoms of schizophrenia and the overall severity of patients’ illness.1 In these trials efficacy was measured using two clinically validated tools commonly used in schizophrenia research: the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), a tool used to measure the severity of symptoms and the Clinical Global Impression Severity Scale (CGI-S), a tool that measures the overall severity of patients’ illness.1
Schizophrenia is a chronic and debilitating psychiatric disorder that affects over 325,000 Canadians.5,6 Without consistent and effective medication, relapse is common, and with each relapse the illness may worsen.7,8 People with schizophrenia occupy over 30,000 hospital beds every year in Canada.9 In 2004, the direct and indirect costs of the disease amounted to more than $6 billion, with hospitalization as the biggest contributor to the direct costs at $1.2 billion.10
“People with schizophrenia require life-long management of their disease,” said Dr. Hani Iskandar, Medical Director, Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, McGill University. “When not properly managed, it can have a profound effect not only on the individual’s wellbeing, but also on the health care system. With more treatment options, clinicians have a better chance of finding a therapy that works and that patients will stay on.”
Preventing relapse is closely related to effective antipsychotic medication and adherence to that treatment. Non-adherence to medication is common in people with schizophrenia and is associated with denial of illness, distressing side effects and complicated dosing schedules.11 In fact, a study of over 1,400 patients with schizophrenia on oral atypical antipsychotic medications showed that 74 per cent of patients discontinued the study medication before 18 months.12 These results demonstrate the high discontinuation rates among this patient population, and the need for multiple treatment options.
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