NYMC Faculty Publications

Management of Schizophrenia With Long-Acting Injectable Antipsychotic Medications: An Assessment of the Educational Needs of Clinicians

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Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment

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Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


PURPOSE: Schizophrenia is a chronic and serious mental disorder characterized by disturbances in thought, perception, and behavior that impair daily functioning and quality of life. Long-acting injectable (LAI) antipsychotic medications may improve long-term outcomes over oral medications; however, LAI antipsychotic medications are often only considered as a last resort late in the disease course. This study sought to assess current clinical practice patterns, clinicians' attitudes, and barriers to the use of LAI antipsychotic medications as well as identify unmet educational needs of psychiatric clinicians in managing patients with schizophrenia. METHODS: A survey was distributed via email to 2330 United States-based clinicians who manage patients with schizophrenia; 379 completed the survey and were included for analysis. The survey included five patient case-based scenarios, with seven decision points. Data were analyzed with qualitative and quantitative methodologies. RESULTS: Clinicians were most confident in determining when to initiate treatment and least confident in transitioning to injectable therapy or administering injectable therapy. Clinicians cited nonadherence, and not wanting to take daily medicine or the "hassle" of frequent treatment, as key factors for which patients were most suitable for an LAI antipsychotic medication. Patient nonadherence was considered the most important barrier to optimal management of patients with schizophrenia. A clinician's perception of relapse was a strong driver of whether or not the clinician would discuss/recommend an LAI antipsychotic medication. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that clinicians may be reluctant to discuss or recommend switching patients to an LAI antipsychotic medication if they are perceived as doing well on current therapy. These results will inform future research and continuing education that aims to improve the confidence, knowledge, and competence of clinicians who provide care for patients with schizophrenia who may benefit from treatment with an LAI antipsychotic medication and clinicians who may be more likely to routinely offer an LAI antipsychotic medication to their patients.