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Long-acting injectable antipsychotics: focus on olanzapine pamoate

Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
Dove Medical Press
Publication Date
  • Expert Opinion
  • Medicine
  • Psychology


Medication non-adherence in patients with schizophrenia continues to be a significant problem and threatens successful treatment outcomes. Medication non-adherence is often associated with negative consequences, including symptom exacerbation, more frequent emergency room visits, re-hospitalizations and relapse. Long-acting injectable (LAI) forms of antipsychotics allow for rapid identification of non-adherence, obviate the need for the patient to take the medication on a daily basis and increase adherence to some significant degree. Eli Lilly has developed a long-acting depot formulation of olanzapine, olanzapine pamoate, which has recently been approved by the FDA for the US market, and which will be reviewed here. Olanzapine LAI appears to be an effective antipsychotic at dosages of 210 mg every 2 weeks, 300 mg every 2 weeks and 405 mg every 4 weeks in patients with acute schizophrenia, and at 150 mg every 2 weeks, 300 mg every 2 weeks and at 405 mg every 4 weeks for the maintenance treatment of stable patients. Oral supplementation appears not to be needed, particularly not at the onset of treatment with the LAI as is necessary with risperidone LAI. Its efficacy is in general comparable to the efficacy seen with oral olanzapine at a corresponding dose. The side effect profile is also comparable to the side effects observed with oral olanzapine, including lower rates of extrapyramidal symptoms, prolactin elevation and cardiovascular side effects, but significant metabolic effects. The latter include significant weight gain, lipid abnormalities and glucose dysregulation. While the injection site adverse events are overall mild, the most significant serious adverse event is the post-injection delirium sedation syndrome (PDSS). While rare, this syndrome results from inadvertent intravascular injection of olanzapine LAI and can cause a range of olanzapine overdose-type of symptoms. Olanzapine LAI needs therefore to be administered by trained personnel in settings where a post-injection observation period for at least 3 hours by medical personnel is available. The overall use of olanzapine LAI will probably be limited by the possibility of a PDSS event. Patients who have a history of good response to oral olanzapine and are in need of assured medication administration may present a good indication for its use, provided that the appropriate mental health delivery setting is available.

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