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Injection to aid treatment of mental illness

7 September 2005

Injection to aid treatment of mental illness

Patients living with psychoses will have a new funded treatment option from 1 October 2005, with PHARMAC’s decision to list the injectable form of the antipsychotic medicine risperidone.

Risperdal Consta will be targeted to those patients whose symptoms are not controlled on currently funded treatments. The injection is longer-lasting than tablets and its use can help control the symptoms of patients who can’t take other forms of antipsychotic medicines.

PHARMAC Acting Medical Director Dr Dilky Rasiah says the decision to list Risperdal Consta is in response to evidence and comments PHARMAC has received from clinicians treating patients with psychoses.

“Doctors have told us that they consider this an important treatment option to have funded, so it is pleasing to reach an agreement to enable it to be funded,” says Dr Rasiah.

“Having an injected form of risperidone available can help patients better control their symptoms and can avoid the need for them to be managed in a hospital setting. This can help them return to life in the community earlier which has a significant positive effect on these patients and their families.”

In addition to funding Risperdal Consta, the agreement with pharmaceutical company Janssen Cilag will also see risperidone orally-disintegrating tablets (Risperdal Quicklets) funded.

The agreement is the latest step PHARMAC has taken to enhance the range of treatments available for people with mental illness. Last year PHARMAC widened access to the atypical antipsychotic olanzapine and listed dissolvable olanzapine wafers (Zyprexa Zydis).

Antipsychotic medicines have been the single largest area of growth in the pharmaceutical budget, climbing from $4.9 million in 1998 to $47.4 million last year, a near 10-fold increase.

ENDS

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