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Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and resource utilization. Drug interactions (DDIs) are among the most common causes of ADRs, and estimates have cited that up to 22% of patients take interacting medications. DDIs are often due to the propensity for agents to induce or inhibit enzymes responsible for the metabolism of concomitantly administered drugs. However, this phenomenon is further complicated by genetic variants of such enzymes. The aim of this study is to quantify and describe potential drug-drug, drug-gene, and drug-drug-gene interactions in a community-based patient population.
A regional pharmacy with retail outlets in Arkansas provided deidentified prescription data from March 2020 for 4761 individuals. Drug-drug and drug-drug-gene interactions were assessed utilizing the logic incorporated into GenMedPro, a commercially available digital gene-drug interaction software program that incorporates variants of 9 pharmacokinetic (PK) and 2 pharmacodynamic (PD) genes to evaluate DDIs and drug-gene interactions. The data were first assessed for composite drug-drug interaction risk, and each individual was stratified to a risk category using the logic incorporated in GenMedPro. To calculate the frequency of potential drug-gene interactions, genotypes were imputed and allocated to the cohort according to each gene’s frequency in the general population. Potential genotypes were randomly allocated to the population 100 times in a Monte Carlo simulation. Potential drug-drug, gene-drug, or gene-drug-drug interaction risk was characterized as minor, moderate, or major.
Based on prescription data only, the probability of a DDI of any impact (mild, moderate, or major) was 26% [95% CI: 0.248-0.272] in the population. This probability increased to 49.6% [95% CI: 0.484-0.507] when simulated genetic polymorphisms were additionally assessed. When assessing only major impact interactions, there was a 7.8% [95% CI: 0.070-0.085] probability of drug-drug interactions and 10.1% [95% CI: 0.095-0.108] probability with the addition of genetic contributions. The probability of drug-drug-gene interactions of any impact was correlated with the number of prescribed medications, with an approximate probability of 77%, 85%, and 94% in patients prescribed 5, 6, or 7+ medications, respectively. When stratified by specific drug class, antidepressants (19.5%), antiemetics (21.4%), analgesics (16%), antipsychotics (15.6%), and antiparasitics (49.7%) had the highest probability of major drug-drug-gene interaction.
In a community-based population of outpatients, the probability of drug-drug interaction risk increases when genetic polymorphisms are attributed to the population. These data suggest that pharmacogenetic testing may be useful in predicting drug interactions, drug-gene interactions, and severity of interactions when proactively evaluating patient medication profiles.
The COVID-19 pandemic substantially impacted care of patients with schizophrenia treated with long-acting injectable antipsychotics (LAIs). This study examined how clinics adapted operations to maintain a standard of care for these patients after pandemic onset.
Online surveys were completed in October-November 2020 by one principal investigator (PI) or PI-appointed designee at 35 clinics participating in OASIS (NCT03919994). Items concerned pandemic impacts on clinic operations, particularly telepsychiatry, and on the care of patients with schizophrenia treated with LAIs.
All 35 clinics reported using telepsychiatry; 20 (57%) implemented telepsychiatry after pandemic onset. Telepsychiatry visits increased from 12%-15% to 45%-69% across outpatient visit types after pandemic onset; frequency of no-show and/or canceled telepsychiatry visits decreased by approximately one-third. Nearly half of clinics increased the frequency of telepsychiatry visits for patients with schizophrenia treated with LAIs. Approximately one-third of participants each reported switching patients treated with LAIs to longer injection interval LAIs or to oral antipsychotics. The most common system/clinic- and patient-related barrier for telepsychiatry visits was lower reimbursement rate and access to technology/reliable internet, respectively. Almost all participants (94%) were satisfied with telepsychiatry for maintaining care of patients with schizophrenia treated with LAIs; most predicted a hybrid of telepsychiatry and office visits post-pandemic.
Changes made by clinics after pandemic onset were viewed by almost all participants as satisfactory for maintaining a standard of care for patients with schizophrenia treated with LAIs. Most participants predicted continuing telepsychiatry to support patient care post-pandemic; equitable access to telepsychiatry will be important in this regard.
With more long-acting injectable (LAI) antipsychotics available for treating schizophrenia, each with variable durations of action (2 weeks to 3 months), it is important to have clear management strategies for patients developing breakthrough psychotic symptoms or experiencing symptomatic worsening on LAIs. However, no treatment guidelines or clinical practice pathways exist; health-care providers must rely on their own clinical judgment to manage these patients. This article provides practical recommendations—based on a framework of clinical, pharmacokinetic, and dosing considerations—to guide clinicians’ decisions regarding management of breakthrough psychotic symptoms. Management options include ruling out/addressing medical illness or substance abuse/misuse as a contributing factor, addressing stressors, optimizing nonpharmacologic treatments, treating medical/psychiatric comorbidities, ensuring proper LAI administration technique, addressing missed LAI doses or lack of steady-state attainment, and increasing LAI dose directly or indirectly by shortening the injection interval (off-label). If these strategies do not work sufficiently with frequent monitoring, the LAI could be supplemented with a low dose of the corresponding oral formulation for fast symptom control (off-label). However, caution should be exercised with this strategy, because data on the safety of concomitant use of LAI and oral antipsychotics (OAPs) are limited, especially over extended periods. If symptoms abate, therapy optimization could be continued and slow discontinuation of the OAP could be considered. For persistent/worsening symptoms, the OAP should be increased to optimum effective dose while intensifying the initial steps used before it was added. If this fails, switching the OAP or LAI could be considered. We believe that these strategies will help clinicians manage breakthrough psychotic symptoms during LAI treatment and improve overall outcomes among those who can benefit from LAIs.
Guidelines for treating various conditions can be helpful in setting practice standards, but the presence of several sets of guidelines from different countries, experts, and settings, written at different times, can also create confusion. Here we provide a “guideline of guidelines” for the treatment of schizophrenia, or “meta-guidelines,” which not only reconcile the various existing standards but also update them to include the use of several newer agents, most of which were marketed following the publication of existing standards.
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