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Int J Clin Pract. 2010 Jan;64(2):216-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2009.02240.x. Epub 2009 Nov 3.

Paliperidone palmitate - review of the efficacy, safety and cost of a new second-generation depot antipsychotic medication.

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Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.



To describe the efficacy, safety and cost of paliperidone palmitate, a depot antipsychotic medication recently approved for the treatment of schizophrenia.


A literature search was conducted by querying the websites,, and for the search term 'paliperidone palmitate'. Cost information was obtained from the pharmaceutical vendor servicing a local state-operated psychiatric facility.


All available reports of studies were identified. Product labelling provided additional information.


Descriptions of the principal results and calculation of the number needed to treat (NNT) and number needed to harm (NNH) for relevant dichotomous outcomes were extracted from the study reports and synopses. Additional safety outcomes subject to NNH analysis were obtained from product labelling.


Paliperidone palmitate is a newly available depot formulation of paliperidone (the 9-OH metabolite of risperidone). Upon injection into the deltoid or gluteal muscle, the release of the drug starts as early as day 1, reaches maximum plasma concentrations at 13 days and lasts for as long as 126 days. Maximum concentration following deltoid injection is approximately 28% higher compared with injection into the gluteal muscle, and thus paliperidone palmitate requires initiation by two initial deltoid injections spread 1 week apart to achieve therapeutic concentrations rapidly. Subsequent injections are at 4-week intervals. Acute efficacy was evidenced by four short-term double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, fixed-dose studies of acutely relapsed adult inpatients who met DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia. NNT for a 30% or greater decrease in the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale total score compared with placebo was consistently lower for the higher dose strengths of 156 and 234 mg, suggesting a therapeutic dose-response. Treatment with paliperidone palmitate at doses between 39 and 156 mg significantly delayed the time to recurrence of symptoms of schizophrenia after 24 weeks of maintained symptom stability. The NNT vs. placebo to avoid a recurrence of symptoms was 5 (95% CI 4-7). Overall, paliperidone palmitate was reasonably well tolerated, with low rates of extrapyramidal symptoms or body weight gain; however, these may be more common at higher doses. Injection site reactions occurred at a rate ranging from 4% to 10%, depending on the dose regimen, compared with 2% for the pooled placebo arms. The acquisition cost of a maintenance dose of paliperidone palmitate calculated on a per day basis is similar to that for risperidone microspheres, but about double the cost for oral paliperidone and approximately 19 times the cost of oral generic risperidone.


Paliperidone palmitate is efficacious for the acute and maintenance treatment of schizophrenia and is reasonably well tolerated. It offers several advantages over other available second-generation depot antipsychotics: it comes in prefilled syringes in a number of different dosage strengths; it does not require refrigeration; it does not require supplementation with oral antipsychotics; it can be administered once monthly; it can be administered with a very small bore needle; the injection volume is small; the injection site can be either the deltoid or gluteal muscles; it does not require an additional precautionary observation period after the injection. For patients for whom oral risperidone or paliperidone is otherwise effective, paliperidone palmitate offers a guaranteed delivery system that enhances adherence. However, the high acquisition cost of paliperidone palmitate will likely be an important obstacle to its routine use.

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