Public Release: 

FAU receives $2.1 million to study effectiveness of schizophrenia medication

Study to examine treatment adherence and impact on 30-day hospital readmission rates

Florida Atlantic University

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IMAGE: John W. Newcomer, M.D., principal investigator of the study, executive vice dean of FAU's Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, and a physician-scientist who has been studying schizophrenia for more... view more

Credit: Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University's Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine was recently awarded a $2.1 million, two-year contract by Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Inc. to conduct a study to examine the effectiveness of an injectable long-acting antipsychotic medication for schizophrenia and its impact on 30-day hospital readmission rates.

In patients with severe illnesses such as schizophrenia, the risk for relapse and re-hospitalization is substantially increased following hospitalizations. Efforts to promote the use of evidence-based treatments that reduce relapse, improve clinical outcomes and contain health care costs, especially in chronic illnesses, have been a major focus of health quality improvement initiatives in the United States.

"This research is important because the availability of second-generation long-acting antipsychotic medications offers an important tool to assist patients with medication adherence, which in turn may help lower health care costs and improve quality of life," said John W. Newcomer, M.D., principal investigator of the study, executive vice dean of FAU's Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, and a physician-scientist who has been studying schizophrenia for more than 25 years.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project), schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders are listed as No. 2 in the top 10, 30-day readmissions for Medicaid patients (aged 18-64 years). They accounted for 35,800 readmissions (24.9 per 100 admissions) with $302 million in readmissions costs in 2011.

FAU is the coordinating site for this multi-center, longitudinal clinical trial and will work with faculty collaborators at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine as well as other sites. The team will evaluate hospitalization rates and metabolic measurements during treatment with long-acting injectable aripiprazole compared with daily oral antipsychotic treatment in the six months following an inpatient hospital stay related to schizophrenia.

This study is a collaboratively designed, investigator-initiated study that will be conducted across five other centers in the U.S. in addition to FAU: Washington University School of Medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Missouri-Columbia, Missouri Institute of Mental Health and Burrell Behavioral Health.

"There is great interest from clinicians, policy-makers, and health care administrators on the effect of new medications in containing health care costs," said Newcomer. "We will be investigating an injectable long-acting antipsychotic medication and its impact on hospital readmission rates in the high-cost population of patients with schizophrenia who use hospital services."

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has focused interest on 30-day hospital readmission rates as an indicator of cost-effective health care delivery. The American College of Emergency Physicians and American Hospital Association reported a 13 percent increase in behavioral health-related hospital emergency department visits between 2005 and 2012.

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that interferes with a person's ability to relate to others, think clearly, make decisions and manage emotions. Symptoms of the illness can include hallucinations, cognitive issues, confusion, psychosis and withdrawn behavior. There is currently no cure for schizophrenia, however it can be treated and managed in several ways such as antipsychotic medications and psychotherapy. In the U.S., approximately 2.2 million adults age 18 and older in a given year have schizophrenia.

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Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU's world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of critical areas that form the basis of its strategic plan: Healthy aging, biotech, coastal and marine issues, neuroscience, regenerative medicine, informatics, lifespan and the environment. These areas provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU's existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit http://www.fau.edu.

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