Oral formulation of antipsychotic offers 'user-friendly' alternative to injections for patients with acute psychosis

[11 September 2000, Munich] -- Although many physicians rely on intramuscular injections of antipsychotic drugs to treat patients who need emergency treatment for psychotic agitation, new research has found that the oral-solution form of Risperdal™ (risperidone) is just as effective and may be a more acceptable alternative for both caregivers and patients(1).

The study, which was presented today at a major international neuropsychopharmacology congress in Munich, found that Risperdal works as quickly and is as effective in reducing symptoms of psychotic agitation as an intramuscular (IM) injection of haloperidol, an older, conventional antipsychotic. Both medications were administered in combination with the antianxiety drug lorazepam.

"When there are two drugs that are equally efficacious, a physician's next consideration when selecting an antipsychotic drug in emergency situations should be patient choice and compliance," said Dr Glenn Currier, lead investigator and assistant professor of the departments of psychiatry and emergency medicine at the University of Rochester. "When patients experiencing psychotic agitation -- usually due to schizophrenia -- end up in the emergency room, they often are confused, scared and paranoid. Injections are painful, and can be perceived as hostile and 'coercive.' This can be a significant barrier to the physician's ability to deliver good care, and to the patient's ability to accept it."

In contrast, an oral solution (liquid) is more easily administered in emergency situations than pills, and is non-invasive. Patients also can continue on the same medication when they leave the hospital, which encourages long-term compliance. Dr. Currier adds that an oral-solution formulation offers benefits to caregivers as well. Injections expose staff members at hospitals and other facilities to an increased risk of needlepricks and a resultant exposure to diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis -- especially w

Contact: John Gisborne

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