Adam Simmons Explains the Importance of Finding New Treatment Options for Schizophrenia

Adam Simmons, director of clinical program management, Alkermes, explained why researchers are seeking new treatments for schizophrenia, such as the investigational treatment ALKS 3831, despite the efficacy of a commonly used antipsychotic, olanzapine.

Can you discuss the importance of finding new treatment options for people with schizophrenia?
Although there’s been a number of treatments and new therapies that have been developed since olanzapine’s come to the market, we still know that olanzapine is still one of the most effective antipsychotics, that it’s one of the most commonly used. And that being despite the fact that olanzapine has this propensity for causing large, clinically significant amounts of weight gain.

So the objective here, and what it is that we’ve tried to do with our development program, is demonstrate that we still have that same efficacy of olanzapine that has been established and is very well supported in the literature, but reducing some of that weight gain. And the benefits there, of course, are that we know that weight gain is associated with, as you mentioned, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, as well as the social reasons and stigma that goes along with increased amounts of weight gain.

So for people that need the efficacy of olanzapine but without that additional weight gain and all the disadvantages that go along with that, that’s where we think that 3831 offers a benefit for patients.
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