Study Compares Delivery Methods of Schizophrenia Medicines

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Schizophrenia Treatment

More than half of schizophrenia patients don't take their medication as directed and a new study will determine whether biweekly physician visits and injectable drugs can change that.

"The basic thing we are comparing is whether people who get the injectable medicine will do better either in their symptoms or their functioning and have less relapses over 30 months of treatment," says Dr. Peter Buckley, chair of the Medical College of Georgia Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior.

"Compliance with oral medication is such a problem, particularly in people with schizophrenia, that we think the injectable form of this new medicine will outperform other medicines because people will simply take it more," he says.

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Dr. Buckley is a principal investigator on the five-year, $10 million study, Preventing Relapse in Schizophrenia: Oral Antipsychotics Compared to Injectables - Evaluating Efficacy, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Other study sites include University of Iowa College of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Dr. John C. Corrigan Community Mental Health Center at Harvard Medical School, Creighton University in Omaha, the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque and The Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y.

The PROACTVE study will follow 304 outpatients age 18 to 65 at seven centers whose disease relapsed within the last six months because they did not take their medicines properly or became resistant to them. These patients tend to be "the sickest of the sick," says Dr. Buckley, often requiring hospitalization.

MCG will enroll 38 patients, including those at two public mental health centers, Ogeechee Behavioral Health Services and Serenity Behavioral Health Systems.

Participants will take a commonly prescribed antipsychotic pill

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