Objective: The current study compared the long-term effectiveness, safety, and tolerability of paliperidone extended-release (ER) among patients with schizophrenia who had switched from risperidone (risperidone group) or other antipsychotic medications (non-risperidone group) due to lack of efficacy, intolerability, or non-adherence. Research design and methods: This open-label, prospective, multicenter, 48 week study utilized the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), the Clinical Global Impression-Severity scale (CGI-S), the Personal and Social Performance scale (PSP), and the Subjective Well-being under Neuroleptics scale (SWN) to assess patients with schizophrenia. Additionally, extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) and subjective side effects were evaluated with validated scales. Clinical trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00864045. Results: The completion rate for this study was 51.6% (95/184), and 169 patients finished with ≥1 post-baseline assessment (81 patients in the risperidone group, 88 in the non-risperidone group). The mean (SD) PANSS total score decreased significantly from 78.3 (18.8) to 65.5 (19.7) in the risperidone group and from 79.1 (19.8) to 65.4 (20.8) in the other group (all p < 0.001). Similar to PANSS, the severity rating for overall scores of the CGI-S and the PSP scores improved significantly from baseline (all p < 0.001). The magnitude of improvement in all effectiveness measures at 48 weeks did not differ between the two groups. EPS and subjective side effects improved significantly for all patients. Akathisia (18.5%) and increased weight (14.1%) were the main adverse events. Elevated prolactin levels were identified in female subjects in the non-risperidone group. Conclusions: Switching from previously unsuccessful antipsychotic treatments to paliperidone ER can be a useful option to achieve long-term improvement in symptoms and functioning for patients with schizophrenia. The clinical effectiveness appeared to be similar in patients who previously received risperidone and those treated with other antipsychotic medications. The open-label design and lack of a placebo group were limitations.
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