Monthly schizophrenia drug approved

March 8, 2013

The new product was prompted by a recognition of the need for additional treatment options in the treatment of schizophrenia

FDA has approved aripiprazole (Abilify Maintena, Otsuka and Lundbeck) as an extended-release injectable drug for the treatment of schizophrenia.

Abilify Maintena is a once-monthly formulation that offers the efficacy and safety profile of oral aripiprazole, which has been available to treat the condition since 2002.

Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder characterized by a disruption of thought processes that can cause delusions and hallucinations. The disease affects approximately 2.4 million Americans and 24 million people worldwide, and has serious consequences for patients, their families and the communities in which they live.

“The development of the new product was prompted by a recognition of the need for additional treatment options in the treatment of schizophrenia,” John M. Kane, MD, chairman of psychiatry, The Zucker Hillside Hospital, and vice president, Behavioral Health Services, North Shore-LIJ Health System, says. 

Patients could have poor or partial treatment adherence resulting in high rates of relapse and re-hospitalization, so a once-monthly drug is “a very important opportunity in terms of serving our patients and possibly reducing costs and improving outcomes,” Dr. Kane says.