The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a 6-month injection form of the long-acting atypical antipsychotic paliperidone palmitate (Invega Hafyera, Janssen Pharmaceuticals) for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults, the company has announced.
This marks the "first-and-only twice-yearly injectable" approved for treating schizophrenia, it added in a press release.
Before transitioning to the 6-month form, patients must be adequately treated for a minimum of 4 months with the company's 1-month formulation of paliperidone (Invega Sustenna), or with the 3-month version (Invega Trinza) for at least one 3-month injection cycle.
The FDA approved the twice-yearly formulation on the basis of results from a 12-month, randomized, double-blind, phase 3 study that enrolled 702 adults with schizophrenia from 20 countries.
"The phase 3 trial results provide compelling evidence that 6-month paliperidone palmitate offers longer-term symptom control with the fewest doses per year, which may support greater patient adherence," Gustavo Alva, MD, medical director at ATP Clinical Research, Costa Mesa, California, and 6-month paliperidone palmitate clinical trial investigator, said in the release.
In the phase 3 trial, the twice-yearly version of the drug proved noninferior to the 3-month version on the primary endpoint of time to first relapse at the end of 12 months, with 92.5% and 95% of patients, respectively, relapse-free at 12 months.
Relapse was defined as psychiatric hospitalization, increase in Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total score, increase in individual PANSS item scores, self-injury, violent behavior, or suicidal/homicidal ideation.
The safety profile observed in the trial was in-line with prior studies of the 1-month and 3-month versions, with no new safety signals, the researchers note.
The most common adverse reactions affecting at least 5% of participants in the clinical trial receiving twice-year paliperidone were upper respiratory tract infection (12%), injection site reaction (11%), weight gain (9%), headache (7%), and parkinsonism (5%).
Relapse is common in adults with schizophrenia, often due to missed doses of medication, the company said in the news release.
"For too long, we’ve accepted relapse as a normal part of living with schizophrenia, while research continues to demonstrate that stronger medication adherence means better patient outcomes," Alva said.
Recently updated evidence-based guidelines from the American Psychiatric Association recommend consideration of long-acting injectables for appropriate adults living with schizophrenia, as reported by Medscape Medical News.
"Long-acting injectable treatments offer a number of advantages compared to oral medication for schizophrenia, including relief from needing to remember to take medication daily, lower discontinuation rates, and sustained treatment over longer periods," Bill Martin, PhD, with Janssen Research & Development, said in the release.
"Today’s approval enables us to rethink how we manage this chronic disease by offering patients and caregivers the potential for a life less defined by schizophrenia medication," Martin added.
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Cite this: FDA Approves First Twice-Yearly Antipsychotic for Schizophrenia - Medscape - Sep 01, 2021.