FDA Approves Once-Monthly Treatment for Schizophrenia

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved long-acting aripiprazole (Abilify Maintena, Otsuka/Lundbeck) for the maintenance treatment of adults with schizophrenia.

A once-monthly intramuscular (IM) depot formulation, the drug has the same efficacy and safety profile as the oral formulation, the manufacturers report. The FDA approval follows positive results of a phase 3 double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

First presented at the American Psychiatric Association 2012 Annual Meeting and reported by Medscape Medical News at that time, the study demonstrated that adult outpatients who received the once-monthly IM injections had a significantly greater delay in time to relapse and a significantly lower rate of relapse compared with their counterparts who received placebo.

by Caroline Cassels, Medscape

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Congressman Tim Murphy ‘Gets’ Serious Mental Illness

As a lifelong Democrat, it pains me to say the best advocate for people with serious mental illness appears to be Representative Tim Murphy, the Republican Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

For most leaders, once there is a “Mentally Ill Killer on Rampage” (sic) headline, political correctness — rather than finding solutions — becomes the top priority. We’re subjected to comfortable platitudes like ‘most people with mental illness are not violent’ or ‘are more likely to be victims than perpetrators.’ Our well-intentioned desire to avoid stigmatizing people with mental illness who do not become violent, causes us to avoid helping persons with mental illness who do become violent. Congressman Murphy called this, ‘keeping the blinders on.’

On Face The Nation, CSPAN and in hearings on March 5, Congressman Murphy, a board certified psychologist demonstrated he’s not going down that road. He indicated his intent to have a nationwide forum and hearings on the very narrow issue of ‘serious mental illness and violence’. The elephant in the room. And to their credit, the Democrats seemed to join him in taking the blinders off.

–DJ Jaffe, Executive Director of Mental Illness Policy Org., dedicated to providing science based information on serious mental illness to policymakers and public.

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Health Activist Month, April 2013

WEGO Health is sponsoring April to be health activist month.

They are challenging individuals to write 30 health related posts in online media, one for each day in April.

They are providing suggestions to help people come up with things to write about as well to help people avoid writers block.

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Online CBT For Schizophrenia: Dr. Jen Gottlieb and Brian Chiko

In cased anyone missed it when it was available through the upcoming events page.  Even though the sessions have ended, there is still some materials hosted on the website.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be very helpful for people with schizophrenia, but practitioners are few and far between, and sessions can be expensive. CopingTutor.com is a new online tool to teach people who have schizophrenia clinically-validated cognitive behavioral techniques to better cope with common symptoms like voices. This month on Brain Waves, Dr. Jennifer Gottlieb, the scientist who developed the program’s content, and Brian Chiko, the CEO of the program’s parent company, explain how it works and how to get an account.

This segment’s question and answer session is now closed.

 

https://www.imhro.org/brain-waves/online-cbt-schizophrenia-dr-jen-gottlieb-and-brian-chiko

Israel Taking Lead On Anti-Psychotic Drug Research

Israel plays lead role in shaping antipsychotic drug research
Posted By Viva Sarah Press On February 28, 2013 (12:00 am) In

There’s a computerized repository inIsraelthat looks like any other with data sets, tables, forms, graphs and reports. But tap in the right username and password and you’ll access the world’s most comprehensive repositories of research data from drug studies to treat schizophrenia and depression.

This warehouse of information is a key component of NewMeds (Novel Methods Leading to New Medications in Depression and Schizophrenia) — an international consortium of scientists, funded under the Innovative Medicines Initiative of the European Union, which has launched one of the largest-ever academic-industry collaborations to find new methods for developing drugs for these two mental disorders.

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Israel’s representative in this consortium is Prof. Jonathan Rabinowitz, ofBar-IlanUniversity’s Louis and Gabi Weisfeld School of Social Work. Rabinowitz is the academic head of the NewMeds group on advanced data analysis techniques. He’s in charge of devising procedures for shorter and more efficient clinical trials with antipsychotic and antidepressant medications.

Rabinowitz is considered a pioneer in this field. As part of the NewMeds project, he was given unprecedented access to data on drug testing from more than 45,000 patients in over 100 trials spanning 25 countries.

“If you have data from one drug study, you can learn something about this one study. But if you have 100 studies and put them together you can learn a lot more,” he tells ISRAEL21c. “This is an important area of attention because of the realization of how much good you can do by pooling data.”

The NewMeds repositories at BIU, with billions of dollars’ worth of data, give “Israela central position in this new evolving area,” says Rabinowitz. “It’s a super-important asset. So it putsIsrael, and BIU, in a lead role.”

Making a difference

Schizophrenia affects about 1.1 percent of theUSpopulation, while depression has an effect on one in 10 Americans.

Rabinowitz, a 54-year-old father of three who grew up inCleveland,Ohio, and moved toIsrael24 years ago, has extensive experience in studying the efficiency and safety of psychiatric medications based on data from trials and national case registries. A quick Internet search sees his name pop up on committees, in research papers and in academic journals worldwide.

Since the NewMeds initiative’s inception in 2010, Rabinowitz has travelled extensively, presenting this data repository at academic conferences and health gatherings. He has published more than 150 scientific papers.

He will present his research at the eClinical Intelligence meeting inSan Franciscoat the end of February. Next year, he will co-chair the program committee for the Biennial Schizophrenia International Research Society Conference inFlorence,Italy.

For the greater good

Not everyone is excited by the idea of pooling data.

“Sharing information is the key to developing new models and methods to enable novel treatments in any disease. But when a drug company spends $35-$50 million dollars per trial, you can understand why they are hesitant about sharing data,” he says. “But they will have to.”

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is now setting up a policy to ensure that pharmaceutical manufacturers make their trial data accessible. Unsurprisingly, the EMA recently appointed Rabinowitz to the advisory groups on promoting good analysis practice and on clinical trial data formats. He also serves on the Clinical Expert Review Committee for the FDA data standards development initiative.

“What’s been exciting is that this is really cutting edge and we’re able to maximize use of data that’s already been collected. Data sharing beyond the individual trial adds to the ethical capital of conducting drug studies. More good can come from the time and risk that people subjected themselves to for being involved in these trials where some of them were getting placebo and experimental active treatments,” says Rabinowitz.

He predicts that it will take many years to reap the benefits of his work in finding new medications for sufferers of schizophrenia and depression. On the other hand, he notes, collaboration and sharing data will help advance the field by making better use of resources.

He says it is gratifying that NewMeds partner pharmaceutical companies, which are normally fierce competitors, can now focus on what he dubs “pre-competitive space” — common issues such as identifying subsets of patients to target in drug discovery trials.

“Of course there is hope for advancement in the field. We work together in this pre-space,” says Rabinowitz. “We are trying to design drug discovery trials to make them more efficient based on our findings.”

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Israeli study finds genetic connection between autism and schizophrenia

Article taken from ISRAEL21c - http://israel21c.org
URL to article: http://israel21c.org/people/israel-plays-lead-role-in-shaping-antipsychotic-drug-research/

 

WEGO Health Online Focus Groups

WEGO Health will be holding a paid, virtual focus group for active members of the online Schizophrenia & Mental Health communities.  We hope you will join us to share your story.

Here are a few details about our sponsored focus group:

  • these panels will be held virtually (meaning online and on the phone) so participants can join from anywhere in the US
  • particpants will get the chance to meet other patients & caregivers and share their story
  • each participant will receive a $75 amazon.com gift card for their time

If you’re interested in participating, please complete a quick survey about yourself: http://info.wegohealth.com/schizophrenia-panel

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let us know.  We’d also love your help in sharing this group with others in the community.  Please take a moment to tweet or facebook about it:
Interested in Schizophrenia & Mental Health? Join a sponsored, paid focus group with @wegohealth: http://info.wegohealth.com/schizophrenia-panel

SA Co-Administrator Message March 2013

Greetings To All,

Today my thoughts turn to the 1st step:” I surrender … I admit I need help. I can’t do it alone.”

Before and after being treated for schizophrenia I was a very independent sort of guy. I lived on my own, had my own car, and worked full or part time jobs. Despite all of that, my life seemed to be going nowhere.

I changed psychiatrists several times, each putting me on different medication. Still, that was of little help. I felt alone in the world. I slowly pulled away from the few friends that I had, feeling sorry for myself because they were into street drugs and I wasn’t. What was I to do? I began to pray and ask God for help.

Shortly thereafter, I met up with a long time buddy and good friend whom I hadn’t seen in a dog’s age. We stopped for coffee and I told him my story. He listened intently. When I ran out of things to say, he told me I needed to find a group of people with schizophrenia. He went on, saying: ” Just like there’s Alcoholics Anonymous, and Narcotics Anonymous there has to be a Schizophrenics Anonymous meeting somewhere, and, if you can’t find one, start one of your own. But I said, “I can’t go around telling people I’m schizophrenic, what will they think?” My friend gave it to me straight: “You’re either going to grow or go.”

The more I thought about it, by-gosh, the more my friend was right. I took action by calling major cities in New England and even New York City hoping to find an SA group, but to no avail. Then someone told me to call “Info-Line” in my own state of Connecticut and sure enough they had the name and phone number of a gal who had been in touch with SA Headquarters in Michigan and was looking to start a SA group 30 minutes from where I lived.

That all took place 26 years ago as of this writing. Since then I have started many SA groups in CT and am a Co-Administrator for SA as well as being a Vice-Chair on the Board of Directors of SARDAA.

Believe in a power greater than yourself and have the courage to pursue your dreams and you’ll be amazed at what you find.
Jim C SA Co-Administrator

 

FFS Leader Message March 2013

February was quite an eventful month for me and my family. I hope you had the chance to read the article in the NY Times “A Guide In The Darkness” which featured my son Lance and myself. We were quite anxious going public in such a large way but the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and more importantly, Lance was ecstatic.

 

One of the 12-Step slogans is “You’re Only as Sick as Your Secrets” and I can attest to that firsthand. I feel as if a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. We are no longer living with the “elephant in the room” and people have come out of the woodwork asking for help and sharing their personal journeys. When I made the decision to go forward with the interview I felt if I helped only one person I would have been happy. Also, I can now advocate on a much grander scale and help not only Lance but others as well.

 

The other miraculous milestone this month was Lance’s 3-year anniversary in Narcotics Anonymous. He asked me to present him with his coin and all of his siblings and even his grandparents attended the anniversary meeting. It was a magical and emotional evening. My heart is still swelling with pride and gratitude.

 

Please spread the word about Family & Friends Tuesday Support Group so others can benefit from the support we give one another. We cannot do this alone!

 

“No man is an island,

No man stands alone,

Each man’s joy is joy to me,

Each man’s grief is my own.

We need one another,

So I will defend,

Each man as my brother,

Each man as my friend.”

 

 

Until next month,

Susan Sheena, FFS Leader

 

Executive Director Message March 2013

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your contributions and support.  SARDAA has been privileged to partner with local and national leaders, stakeholders, individuals, groups and family members.  We look forward to sharing our tools with other countries, as well.  60 Minutes reached out to SARDAA for interviewees for an upcoming segment on schizophrenia.  We are grateful to be of assistance in providing accurate information, resources and partnering in the challenging efforts to eliminate myths and discrimination surrounding brain disorders.  Your contributions have supported the support groups that help sustain many individuals and families in the recovery journey.

We are preparing to update and add to the Schizophrenics Anonymous (SA) member manual, the Blue Book.  We welcome personal stories from SA members.  The stories have been enthusiastically received by thousands over the years and people yearn to read new and more stories.  Stories need to be no more than one page in length.  We will be holding a drawing for all who submit their story.  Please email your story to joe.green@sardaa.org Or mail to:

SARDAA

PO Box941222

Houston, TX 77094-8222

 

Linda Stalters, MSN

Executive Director

Schizophrenia and Related DisordersAllianceofAmerica

Mouse Study Suggests Right Environmental Factors May Induce Schizophrenia

Neuroscientists and psychologists have long suspected that adverse environmental factors — in addition or even in the absence of genetic factors — may play an important role in the development of schizophrenia. Experts have questioned if prenatal infections such as toxoplasmosis or influenza, psychological, stress or family history are risk factors for schizophrenia.

Now, in a mouse study, researchers believe for the first time they are able to demonstrate clear evidence that a combination of two environmental factors contributes significantly to the development of schizophrenia-relevant brain changes.

by Rick Nauert, Psych Central

Full Article