brainscanThe Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has recommended Latuda (lurasidone) as a new once-daily oral treatment for schizophrenia in adults aged 18 and over as an alternative treatment option in patients. 

In short and longer-term clinical studies Latuda was found to be effective in adult patients with schizophrenia with negligible effects on weight and minimal effects on cardiometabolic parameters, such as glucose and cholesterol.

The most common side effects seen in short and long-term studies of Latuda include akathisia (a feeling of restlessness and a need to fidget) and somnolence. 

The SMC decision was supported in part by the economic case submitted by Sunovion, the manufacturer of Latuda, showing that in comparison with aripiprazole, lurasidone was a less costly treatment option, with a slightly greater increment in quality-adjusted life-years of 0.005 and a cost saving of £3,864. The main driver of the cost savings is reduced relapse with lurasidone.

About 53,000 people in Scotland will develop schizophrenia during their lifetime. Symptoms can be diverse and include hallucinations, distorted perception of reality, depression and social withdrawal.

Atypical antipsychotics can be associated with undesirable side effects, including weight gain, hyperglycemia and lipid abnormalities. Such adverse effects are related to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which are of special importance to those who are starting antipsychotic treatment for the first time.  

The licensing of Latuda was based on short and long-term data which found it to be effective in treating positive and negative symptoms in psychotic patients with schizophrenia. In two studies, significant reductions in symptoms versus placebo were seen as early as day 4.

Latuda has also demonstrated a favourable safety, tolerability and metabolic profile in the treatment of adults with schizophrenia. In a short-term study of stable but symptomatic patients switched to Latuda from other antipsychotic agents, patients on average did not experience significant weight gain.   

“The SMC decision is great news as it expands the range of available treatment options for people with schizophrenia,” said Professor Stephen Lawrie, Professor of Psychiatry and Head of the Division of Psychiatry, The University of Edinburgh. “There is a need for new, effective and well-tolerated treatments to manage acute symptoms and prevent relapses with minimal effects on metabolic parameters, which may also affect the likelihood of adherence to therapy. Latuda could potentially be of benefit to many adults with schizophrenia.”