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    Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D. , posted by Daniel

HA

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Injectable schizophrenia drug lasts longer with fewer side-effects

Last Updated Thu, 31 Aug 2006 20:07:24 EDT

CBC News

A new treatment option could help the more than 250,000 Canadians living with schizophrenia — but few may be able to get it.
Austin Mardon was a daring, young explorer working for NASA in Antarctica when he developed schizophrenia at age 30.

"It was as St. John of the Cross talks about, the dark night of my soul," he recalled.

The side-effects of the tablet-form of Risperdal caused Mardon to gain weight and sleep a lot; constipation and sexual dysfunction are also possible.

Studies show three-quarters of people with schizophrenia go off their oral medication at some point, partly because of the side-effects.

"As a consequence of that, people will often end up being in hospital; they may make an attempt on their lives, may become aggressive," said Dr. Pierre Chue, a psychiatrist in Edmonton.

Fewer side-effects

A new, slow-release formula of Risperdal provides a constant level of medication for two weeks, with fewer side-effects than tablets, according to a clinical trial of the injectable version of the drug.

The advantage of the long-acting drug is that people tend to take it consistently, and doctors know immediately when a dose has been missed, said Chue, who has led several studies on the drug.

"We don't have full reimbursement in every province across Canada, which I think is the reason why it's not widely used," Chue said.

Cost is the roadblock to expanding access: At $400 a month, the injection medication is four times the price of the tablet form.

"The logistics of a lot of the programs mean that we spend a lot of time filling out forms and waiting for coverage that would be better spent working with the patient themselves," said Wendy Wood of the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health in Toronto.

Relapse rates halved

In the long term, doctors said, the injectable form will save money, since those on it have half the rate of relapse and hospitalization.

The direct cost of treating schizophrenia totals $2 billion a year, plus another $5 billion in lost productivity, researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., found in 2004.

Mardon was able to get the drug through a clinical trial. The researcher, who is now polishing an article for a scientific journal, said he feels like a gentler person than before.

"It has made an incredible difference," said Mardon, who gets the drug through a clinical trial. "I've become married; I've written 12 papers."

When the clinical trial ends, there are no guarantees the provincial drug plan will pay for the treatment.
 

foghlaim

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you know reading articles like the one above are great.. especially when one reads that new meds or existing ones are being improved..

But i get mad when i read about the cost... it can be so high it's almost prohibative to those that need it most.

If only some Governments would spend just a percentage of their "defence budget" (being nice here) on helping and treating their respective ppls,,, they would be so much better off.

Or maybe bill gates could part with some of his Billions and donate it... he can't take it with him..:) or any of the multibillionaires on this planet..
but maybe they all blind!!

okay that's my little rant..

by the way Heartart good article. I really hope that this medication can be made available at an affordable cost sooner than later.
 
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David Baxter

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nsa said:
But i get mad when i read about the cost... it can be so high it's almost prohibative to those that need it most.
That's very true. Those with limited assets can get a drug plan through provincial disability but that means the person basically cannot own a house, etc. I don't think governments are flexible enough when it comes to assisting patients with the costs of essential medications.


nsa said:
Or maybe bill gates could part with some of his Billions and donate it...
Actually, Bill Gates and his wife give millions to charities every year, most of it without any fanfare. He recently announced that he is stepping down in a couple of years as active CEO of Microsoft and part of the reason for that is that he and his wife want to devote more energies to managing their charitable foundation.
 

foghlaim

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I stand corrected where Bill Gates in concerned.. thanks david.. nice to know he cares about other ppl. Sorry Bill!! (just in case he reads this sometime :) )

Maybe other billionaire do the same and we know nothing about them? I suppose they do..

anyway the real pointof this was to hop off the governments for the way they treat their own ppls. even here at home.. there can be diff rules for diff ppls. aaghh!!
 

HA

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NSA,

I have read about Bill Gates and his wife holding competitions for research dollars and with the last one the support went to a scientist working on marlia treatment. I beleive his method could be used in other areas if succesful. I also read that they want to spend more time on charity efforts. Not sure if any of the applications were for mental illness research. I think the Gates were looking at what would help the most people as a priority for the support dollars.

But, when I read about the billionaires who spend their time building bigger and bigger houses, I wonder how many of them contribute to charity. Just a small amount of what they have could go a long way. Sometimes I get very frustrated by the imbalance of resources and how just a handful get so much.
 

foghlaim

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Just a small amount of what they have could go a long way

a very long way.... just to think of all the wasted money out there.. but then i suppose there are those that just don't think of how they can help with a fraction even of their wealth.
Over here it's often said.. that's it's the ppl who have very little who give the most.. and those that have it.. keep it!!.

sorry i'm just in a mood..
i'll stop ranting now..
 

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