Long-Acting Injectable Aripiprazole: How Might It Fit In Our Tool Box?Author(s): Ganesh Gopalakrishna, Arpit Aggarwal, John Lauriello
Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness with a lifetime prevalence of approximately one percent worldwide. Maintenance antipsychotic treatment has been effective in preventing relapses in long-term follow-up studies. Logically it can be proposed that long-acting injectable antipsychotics (LAI) might reduce both unintentional and intentional nonadherence. Long-acting injectable aripiprazole was approved for the treatment of schizophrenia by the U.S. FDA on 28th February 2013 and will be marketed under the name Abilify Maintena. Aripiprazole LAI (ALAI) is a lyophilized powder that needs to be reconstituted with sterile water to form an injectable suspension without affecting the original molecule. The monthly injection interval is very attractive since patients prefer fewer injections. From a tolerability perspective, ALAI appears to be both weight neutral and lacking metabolic side effects. This can confer an advantage over the other currently available second-generation antipsychotic LAIs. Simple constitution with sterile water and no requirement to refrigerate make storage and administration easier. Like all medications, there are always potential disadvantages to ALAI. There is a period of oral coverage, while not as long as for long-acting risperidone microspheres (RLAI), that is required. Care must be taken to review concomitant medications for the presence of metabolic inducers and inhibitors. One would also expect some patients to be sensitive to extrapyramidal symptoms, especially akathisia which is well documented in the oral preparation. All things considered, we welcome our new tool, ALAI, to our workplace and predict both clinical practice and post marketing analysis and studies will discover its true value.