In recent years, the landscape for the treatment of severe mental illness such as schizophrenia has evolved with increasing use of long-acting injectable antipsychotics (LAIs) as new data tout significant benefits of these agents over oral treatment. Early randomized, controlled trials did not show superiority of LAIs over oral antipsychotics. However, in recent years, overwhelming evidence suggests that LAIs may improve adherence, reduce relapse and hospitalizations, lessen the risk of treatment failure, and decrease mortality. Also, much evidence suggests the use of these treatments should no longer be reserved for last line, but offered at an earlier place in the illness. Moreover, new agents have arrived on the market which can be dosed without oral overlap, paving the way to less burdensome initiation strategies.
The rapid onset of COVID-19 in the United States, combined with the dismantling of the spring 2020 medical conference infrastructure and widespread travel bans and social distancing has created a synchronous need in all clinical arenas to manage patients with pre-existing conditions, such as schizophrenia, who require management with LAIs, with little to no ability for traditional scientific meeting, and smaller meetings to share experiences and insights.
This curriculum is designed as a multi-component educational series with three webinars that cover antipsychotic mechanisms of action, LAIs and the evidence for improved care, techniques on LAI administration, and strategies for employing optimal interaction with patients who have schizophrenia during the public health emergency of COVID-19. These webinars are targeted to, and accredited for, physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and nurses.