This case newsletter series is sponsored by Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.
It was neither developed nor peer-reviewed by Current Psychiatry.
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A New Newsletter Every Month

This three-part, monthly newsletter series focuses on persistent challenges in the management of adult patients with schizophrenia. Each newsletter reviews a case or treatment challenge and provides a review of recent Latuda® (lurasidone HCl) clinical data as an option for meeting that challenge.

Please see Important Safety Information, including Boxed Warning, below and full Prescribing Information.

These case newsletters were developed in association with a faculty of esteemed physicians, each with extensive experience in schizophrenia management.

We invite you to read the newsletter(s) currently available below. We hope you enjoy this monthly case series.

Henry A. Nasrallah, MD
Current Psychiatry

Issue 1 of 3

The Continuing Need for Options When Considering an Antipsychotic Switch: A Review of the Switch Study Data for Latuda® (lurasidone HCl)

Switching patients from one antipsychotic to another is common in the clinical management of adult patients with schizophrenia. This newsletter examines the need and strategies for switching antipsychotics and, after a brief overview of LATUDA, highlights the results of a recently published switch study with LATUDA.

Faculty: Joseph McEvoy, MD, and Henry A. Nasrallah, MD

Issue 2 of 3

Challenges and Considerations in Switching Antipsychotics: Latuda® (lurasidone HCl) Switch Study Data

There are many factors a clinician may have to consider when switching antipsychotic medications for their adult patients with schizophrenia. This newsletter examines the possible reasons for switching antipsychotics and, after a brief overview of LATUDA, reviews data from a recently published switch study with LATUDA.

Faculty: Scott T. Aaronson, MD, and Henry A. Nasrallah, MD

Issue 3 of 3

The Safety and Efficacy of Latuda® (lurasidone HCl) in the Treatment of Adult Patients With Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a heterogeneous disease which poses many treatment challenges for the clinician and patient. This newsletter explores some of these challenges with a case review of an adult patient with schizophrenia. The newsletter also reviews safety and efficacy data for LATUDA, an atypical antipsychotic indicated for the treatment of adult patients with schizophrenia.

Faculty: Jonathan Meyer, MD, and Henry A. Nasrallah, MD


LATUDA is an atypical antipsychotic indicated for the treatment of patients with schizophrenia. Efficacy was established in five 6-week controlled studies of adult patients with schizophrenia. The effectiveness of LATUDA for longer-term use, that is, for more than 6 weeks, has not been established in controlled studies. Therefore, the physician who elects to use LATUDA for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.


  See full prescribing information for complete boxed warning.  
• Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death.
• LATUDA is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis.

LATUDA is contraindicated in the following:
• Any patient with a known hypersensitivity to lurasidone HCl or any components in the formulation. Angioedema has been observed with lurasidone.
• Concomitant use with strong CYP3A4 inhibitors (e.g., ketoconazole).
• Concomitant use with strong CYP3A4 inducers (e.g., rifampin).

Cerebrovascular Adverse Reactions, Including Stroke: In placebo-controlled trials with risperidone, aripiprazole, and olanzapine in elderly subjects with dementia, there was a higher incidence of cerebrovascular adverse reactions (cerebrovascular accidents and transient ischemic attacks) including fatalities compared to placebo-treated subjects. LATUDA is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis.

Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS): NMS, a potentially fatal symptom complex, has been reported with administration of antipsychotic drugs, including LATUDA. NMS can cause hyperpyrexia, muscle rigidity, altered mental status and evidence of autonomic instability (irregular pulse or blood pressure, tachycardia, diaphoresis, and cardiac dysrhythmia). Additional signs may include elevated creatine phosphokinase, myoglobinuria (rhabdomyolysis), and acute renal failure. The management of NMS should include: 1) immediate discontinuation of antipsychotic drugs and other drugs not essential to concurrent therapy; 2) intensive symptomatic treatment and medical monitoring; and 3) treatment of any concomitant serious medical problems for which specific treatments are available.

Tardive Dyskinesia (TD): TD is a syndrome consisting of potentially irreversible, involuntary, dyskinetic movements that can develop in patients with antipsychotic drugs. There is no known treatment for established cases of TD, although the syndrome may remit, partially or completely, if antipsychotic treatment is withdrawn. The risk of developing TD and the likelihood that it will become irreversible are believed to increase as the duration of treatment and the total cumulative dose of antipsychotic drugs administered to the patient increase. However, the syndrome can develop, although much less commonly, after relatively brief treatment periods at low doses. Given these considerations, LATUDA should be prescribed in a manner that is most likely to minimize the occurrence of TD. If signs and symptoms appear in a patient on LATUDA, drug discontinuation should be considered.

Metabolic Changes

  Hyperglycemia and Diabetes Mellitus: Hyperglycemia, in some cases extreme and associated with ketoacidosis or hyperosmolar coma or death, has been reported in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics. Patients with risk factors for diabetes mellitus (e.g., obesity, family history of diabetes) who are starting treatment with atypical antipsychotics should undergo fasting blood glucose testing at the beginning of and periodically during treatment. Any patient treated with atypical antipsychotics should be monitored for symptoms of hyperglycemia including polydipsia, polyuria, polyphagia, and weakness. Patients who develop symptoms of hyperglycemia during treatment with atypical antipsychotics should undergo fasting blood glucose testing. In some cases, hyperglycemia has resolved when the atypical antipsychotic was discontinued; however, some patients required continuation of anti-diabetic treatment despite discontinuation of the suspect drug.

Dyslipidemia: Undesirable alterations in lipids have been observed in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics.

Weight Gain: Weight gain has been observed with atypical antipsychotic use. Clinical monitoring of weight is recommended.

Hyperprolactinemia: As with other drugs that antagonize dopamine D2 receptors, LATUDA elevates prolactin levels. Galactorrhea, amenorrhea, gynecomastia, and impotence have been reported in patients receiving prolactin-elevating compounds. In short-term, placebo-controlled studies, the median change from baseline to endpoint in prolactin levels for LATUDA-treated females was -0.2 ng/mL and was 0.5 ng/mL for males. The proportion of female patients with prolactin elevations ≥5x ULN was 5.7% for LATUDA-treated patients versus 2.0% for placebo-treated female patients. The proportion of male patients with prolactin elevations >5x ULN was 1.6% versus 0.6% for placebo-treated male patients.

Leukopenia, Neutropenia, and Agranulocytosis: Leukopenia/neutropenia has been reported during treatment with antipsychotic agents. Agranulocytosis (including fatal cases) has been reported with other agents in the class. Patients with a preexisting low white blood cell count (WBC) or a history of drug induced leukopenia/neutropenia should have their complete blood count (CBC) monitored frequently during the first few months of therapy, and LATUDA should be discontinued at the first sign of a decline in WBC in the absence of other causative factors.

Orthostatic Hypotension and Syncope: LATUDA may cause orthostatic hypotension. Orthostatic vital signs should be monitored in patients who are vulnerable to hypotension and in patients with known cardiovascular disease or cerebrovascular disease.

Seizures: LATUDA should be used cautiously in patients with a history of seizures or with conditions that lower seizure threshold (e.g., Alzheimer's dementia).

Potential for Cognitive and Motor Impairment: In short-term, placebo-controlled trials, somnolence was reported in 17.0% (256/1508) of patients treated with LATUDA compared to 7.1% (50/708) of placebo patients, respectively. Patients should be cautioned about operating hazardous machinery, including motor vehicles, until they are reasonably certain that therapy with LATUDA does not affect them adversely.

Body Temperature Regulation:
Disruption of the body's ability to reduce core body temperature has been attributed to antipsychotic agents. Appropriate care is advised when prescribing LATUDA for patients who will be experiencing conditions that may contribute to an elevation in core body temperature, e.g., exercising strenuously, exposure to extreme heat, receiving concomitant medication with anticholinergic activity, or being subject to dehydration.

Suicide: The possibility of suicide attempt is inherent in psychotic illness and close supervision of high-risk patients should accompany drug therapy. Prescriptions for LATUDA should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets consistent with good patient management in order to reduce the risk of overdose.

Dysphagia: Esophageal dysmotility and aspiration have been associated with antipsychotic drug use. Aspiration pneumonia is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in elderly patients, in particular those with advanced Alzheimer's dementia. LATUDA and other antipsychotic drugs should be used cautiously in patients at risk for aspiration pneumonia.

Commonly Observed Adverse Reactions: (incidence ≥5% and at least twice the rate of placebo) in patients treated with LATUDA were somnolence, akathisia, nausea and parkinsonism.

Before prescribing LATUDA, please read the full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning.

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