Adam Simmons on Patient Preferences When Taking Antipsychotic Medications

Efficacy is the primary factor in patients’ decisions to take antipsychotic medications, but weight gain is an important side effect that can also impact those decisions, explained Adam Simmons, director of clinical program management, Alkermes. Simmons was interviewed at the 175th Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, where he presented on the investigational drug ALKS 3831.


Are there patient-reported outcomes indicating that more people will stay on therapy if they receive the benefits of olanzapine with less weight gain?

Yeah, interestingly, we did a survey of 500 patients living with schizophrenia being treated in outpatient clinics asking about what their preferences were for antipsychotic medications in general. Some of the feedback from that survey was that, first and foremost, efficacy was the most important factor for them taking a medication.

But when we asked about side effects, weight gain was one of the most important side effects for them to consider in taking a medication. Further to that, we asked about thresholds of weight gain, and about 80% of patients will go onto a medication, if that medication’s gonna cause about 5 pounds or less of weight gain.

But as you kind of go up the threshold and you start asking about 20 pounds or more, that’s where we know that for 70% of patients, they either absolutely won’t take a medication or it would seriously impact their decision. And with that, that number was even higher for females. So based on that survey as well as other information that’s been published in the literature, we know that weight gain is a major factor in people’s decision for choosing whether or not to take a certain antipsychotic medication.
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