Support for schizophrenia


A drug that will greatly improve the livelihoods of people living with schizophrenia has just been subsidised to become more affordable and accessible through its addition to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Sydenham psychiatrist Dr Samir Ibrahim said this advancement will allow his patients and their caregivers to live a more fulfilling life that isn’t as defined by schizophrenia medication.

“The availability of a new treatment option on the PBS enables us to rethink how we manage this chronic disease,” Dr Ibrahim said.

He has worked with patients living with schizophrenia for 40 years and welcomes the benefits this drug will have on his patients in Brimbank and surrounds.

The drug, INVEGA HAFERA was added to the PBS on August 1 and is a six-monthly antipsychotic injection that treats adults with schizophrenia. Patients will require fewer treatments per year; it will allow those receiving the drug more freedom within their lives and the ability to spend less time receiving treatment.

“Long-acting injectable treatment offers an option for people living with schizophrenia, which enhances their compliance on medication, and hence lowers discontinuation and relapse rates, leading to a better quality of life for the patient and their families,“ Dr Ibrahim said.

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects one in 100 people in Australia and 24 million people worldwide.

At this stage the mental disorder can not be cured but can be assisted with preventative measures and symptom management.

Someone living with schizophrenia can have up to nine relapses in less than six years which Dr Ibrahim says can have a larger impact on their overall wellbeing and livelihood, allowing them to spend more time focussing on what long term treatment goals they would like to achieve.

If you or anyone you know should need support, please call Lifeline 131 114.

Holly McGuinness