This study aimed to explore the discontinuation rate of aripiprazole long-acting injection (LAI) in a naturalistic clinical setting.
A retrospective cohort study of 1 year duration was conducted on the first 200 patients registered to receive aripiprazole LAI in Sussex, UK. Rate of discontinuation and the association of robustly recorded clinical variables with discontinuation or a new acute care episode were explored.
Of 200 registered, 173 patients initiated aripiprazole LAI and 40% discontinued this by 1 year. Mean discontinuation time was 18 weeks. The commonest discontinuation reason was “patient choice,” independent of efficacy or adverse effects. Not having a diagnosis of schizophrenia spectrum was the only variable significantly associated with treatment continuation after 1 year. No single diagnostic group accounted for this, although a greater continuation rate was observed in those with bipolar disorder. Illness severity factors at baseline, including apparent treatment resistance, had no impact on later aripiprazole LAI discontinuation or on acute service use over the year. Medication-related variables had no identified impact on acute service use.
This study supports the clinical utility of aripiprazole LAI for its licensed indications. The 1-year discontinuation rate is equivalent to that in reports of similarly designed studies of paliperidone LAI. Further exploration of nonmedication factors influencing LAI discontinuation is required. Preferential use of aripiprazole LAI over other medications may be supported due to fewer associated metabolic adverse effects.