Real-life assessment of aripiprazole monthly (Abilify Maintena) in schizophrenia: a Canadian naturalistic non-interventional prospective cohort study

BMC Psychiatry. 2019 Apr 16;19(1):114. doi: 10.1186/s12888-019-2103-x.


Background: With previously established efficacy of aripiprazole once-monthly injectable formulation (AOM) in pre-registration randomized controlled trials, the current study was designed to evaluate its effectiveness in patients treated for schizophrenia in regular clinical settings in Canada.

Methods: Following their clinicians' decision to prescribe AOM, 193 patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, were recruited from 17 Canadian community or hospital-based settings. The primary outcome of global functioning was assessed with the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (GAF) at 3-month intervals for 1 year. Secondary outcomes (social and occupational functioning and illness severity) and adverse drug reactions (ADR) were also assessed.

Results: A majority of the 169 evaluable patients were within the first 5 years of diagnosis (early phase). A linear mixed model analysis showed a significant main effect of time (Type III test p < 0.001) after adjusting for baseline GAF score, with a change in mean GAF scores from 49 at baseline to 61 at 12 months. No differences between early vs late phase were observed. Results on secondary outcome measures of function (Social and Occupational Functioning Scale) and illness severity (Clinical Global Impression-Severity Scale and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale) were similar. Serious ADRs were observed in 29 (14.6%) patients and akathisia in 18 (9.1%) patients. At month-12, significant (≥7%) weight gain was observed in 25.7% (n = 27/105) of patients.

Conclusions: Treatment with AOM is effective in improving symptoms and functioning in schizophrenia patients treated in regular clinical settings. Akathisia was infrequent while one quarter of patients gained clinically significant weight.

Trial registration: Unique identifier: NCT02131415 . First posted: 06 May 2014.

Keywords: Adherence; Aripiprazole once-monthly; Global functioning; Long acting injectable antipsychotics; Schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Pragmatic Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Aripiprazole / administration & dosage*
  • Aripiprazole / adverse effects
  • Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Gain / drug effects
  • Weight Gain / physiology
  • Young Adult


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Aripiprazole

Associated data