Long-acting injectable (LAI) aripiprazole is increasingly appreciated in the course of a maintenance treatment of schizophrenia due to efficacy in delaying – and decreasing relapse, and low rates of feared side effects. In line with the prescribing information, the maximal starting – as well as maintenance dose was restricted to 400 mg following a 26-day interval between the single doses.
We present a 72-year-old female inpatient (66 kg) with an acute exacerbation of chronic refractory schizophrenia, exhibiting primarily positive symptoms including excessive persecutory delusions, self-care deficit, poor insight and insufficient adherence to continuous intake of oral medication. Since she developed a post-injection syndrome after an accidental intravascular administration of olanzapine LAI 405 mg, the antipsychotic treatment was switched to aripiprazole LAI 300 mg once monthly. Due to insufficient clinical response, aripiprazole LAI was gradually increased up to 1200 mg per month under continuous plasma level monitoring. Here, 2 single injections of aripiprazole LAI 300 mg were delivered into both gluteal muscles concurrently, every 14 days.
Consequently, we observed a clinically meaningful improvement (a total-score reduction from 111 to 75 on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale), as well as no objectifiable side effects, assessed by “The Dosage Record Treatment Emergent Symptom Scale” and “The Barnes Akathisia Rating Scale”, despite multi-morbidity and rather advanced age of the patient.
Our safe experience with applying the almost threefold higher monthly dose over 12 weeks may encourage researchers to further investigate the efficacy, tolerability as well as handling of highly dosed aripiprazole LAI in refractory schizophrenia.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.