Injectable Risperidone No Better Than Oral Antipsychotics

Does not reduce hospitalization rates or improve other outcomes in schizophrenia patients

THURSDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- Compared with oral antipsychotics, long-acting injectable risperidone does not appear to improve outcomes in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, and it is associated with more injection site and extrapyramidal adverse effects, according to the results of a long-term trial published in the March 3 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Robert A. Rosenheck, M.D., of the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues randomized 369 patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and a history of or risk for hospitalization to injectable risperidone or an oral antipsychotic of the psychiatrist's choice. Patients were followed for two years to test injectable risperidone's ability to improve long-term adherence to treatment and outcomes.

The researchers found no significant difference in hospitalization rates between the two treatment groups, and no significant improvement in psychiatric symptoms, quality of life, global functioning, or neurologic side effects in the risperidone group compared with the control group. Patients in the risperidone group reported extrapyramidal symptoms and more injection site adverse events.

"These events primarily included injection-site phenomena, headache, and extrapyramidal signs and symptoms, suggesting that patients receiving oral medication may flexibly adjust their medication use to avoid such adverse effects," the authors write.

The study was funded in part by Ortho-McNeil Janssen Scientific Affairs. Several authors disclosed financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry and/or involvement with study-related patent applications.

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