Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Schizophrenia Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Implant Helps Schizophrenics Stay on Meds


WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD

-->

May 31, 2002 -- Getting a mentally unstable person to take his or her medications as directed is one of the biggest challenges in treating people with schizophrenia. But a new device may provide a solution.

Researchers have developed an implant that can deliver a steady dose of medication directly to the bloodstream for up to a year, according to early animal tests. The results of their findings appear in the current issue of Neuropsychopharmacology.

The device consists of a disc the size of a quarter that contains antipsychotic medicine (Haloperidol in the current study). Layers within the disc dissolve slowly at a designated rate to allow the right amount of medicine to enter the blood stream.

Initial tests in laboratory rats found that the implants successfully delivered a steady stream of the drug for five months. Further research on the device also suggests that the device may work for up to a year and could lead to clinical trials of the device in humans.

"Schizophrenia destroys an individual's grasp of reality, robbing him of his identity and devastating his family," says study author Steven Siegel, MD, PhD, of the division of neuropsychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine, in a new release.

"Patients who need antipsychotic drugs often fail to comprehend the profound severity of their illness, and may stop taking their medication during temporary periods of impaired judgment," says Siegel. "But when the majority of patients with psychiatric disorders take appropriate medicine, they do achieve periods of remission from psychotic symptoms."

Siegel says another advantage of using an implant is that patients are able to make decisions about their future treatment during periods of relative health. But if a medical situation arises that requires a change in treatment, the implant can be removed easily.

According to Siegel, implantation and removal of the device take about 15 minutes and likely can be performed with just a local anesthetic.

Today on WebMD

What Happens Schizophrenia
Feature
Mental Health Psychotic Disorders
Feature
 
Caregiving Stress
Video
Schizophrenia What Increases Your Risk
Feature
 
10 Questions to Ask Doctor About Schizophrenia
Feature
Recognizing Suicidal Behavior
Feature
 
Phobias
Slideshow
Bipolar or Schizophrenia
Video
 
Pets Improve Your Health
Slideshow
69X75_Depression.jpg
Slideshow
 
Schizophrenia Medications
Article
Insomnia 20 Tips For Better Sleep
Slideshow
 

WebMD Special Sections