Release date:2019/11/21 17:33:59
Long-acting medication is widely available and has research-proven clinical benefits compared to oral medications for individuals with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or bipolar disorder. These include a significant delay and reduction in relapse, particularly in patients with early-phase or first-episode schizophrenia and a lower risk of discontinuation and frequency of hospitalizations compared with oral antipsychotics.

Despite the evidence, Long-acting medication is underutilized and only 15 to 28 percent of eligible patients with schizophrenia in the U.S. receive them. As a treatment option, they are often reserved for patients who are non-adherent to oral medications, have experienced multiple relapses or have expressed a preference for Long-acting medication. However, recent evidence and guidance support recommending Long-acting medication over oral medications to all eligible patients as a better treatment option. Using Long-acting medication is an effective prevention strategy for future non-adherence and relapse/deterioration. Long-acting medication also simplifies the treatment regimen and reduce patient medication-taking burden.

advantages of ong acting medication

Providers should consider prescribing Long-acting medication for:
  • Patients who may be at high risk for non-adherence to medications. Patients who experience high utilization of emergency departments, unstable living conditions, co-occurring substance use, cognitive challenges, Anosognosia or limited insight.
  • Patients involved in transitions of care. Patients being discharged from psychiatric hospitals, residential programs or leaving jail or prison.
  • Patients demonstrating challenges with adherence: Past history of non-adherence to oral medications, challenges remembering to take medications as prescribed, or misplacing medications.
  • Patients seeking to relieve the burden of medication-taking. Patients who experience frustration or challenges with regimens associated with taking pills, sometimes 2 to 3 times a day as well as the associated frequency of visits to the physician and pharmacy.
  • Patients experiencing first-episode psychosis. This is an optimal time to educate patients and families about LAMs as they have the potential to reduce the rate of relapse thereby mitigating the further impact on the brain and functioning.
  • Patients who indicate using a LAM as their personal preference. This requires access to education by multiple staff, including Peer Coaches and availability of informational brochures and videos.
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