Olga (Host): Schizophrenia affects 2.4 million people in the United States. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality, which causes significant distress for the individual, their family members, and even friends. The Balancing Act met with two key physicians in the field of psychiatry, along with a patient to help us understand this complicated mental illness. We start with Dr. Greg Mattingly, who specializes in adult and adolescent psychiatry.
Dr. Greg Mattingly: Schizophrenia is a complex, misunderstood and highly stigmatized condition. The physical causes are unknown however, it is thought to be an excess or a deficiency of neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, serotonin, and glutamate. Contrary to portrayals of the illness in the media, schizophrenia does not involve a split personality, rather it is a chronic mental health disorder that disrupts the patient’s thoughts and perception of their surroundings. The illness commonly interferes with a patient’s ability to participate in social events and to foster meaningful relationships. Caregivers play a critical role in the lives of people with schizophrenia. They help them with day-to-day living, social/emotional support and often are involved with their medical care.
Edgar Thomas: I started hearing voices, mostly it was voices telling me to hurt myself but then also I had feelings of paranoia like people were out to get me and sometimes makes you want to isolate and once I started hanging to myself, I knew something was wrong, my oldest daughter was kind of helping me, go to the hospital and check myself in.
Olga (Host) Voiceover: Dr. Vadim Baram has over 15 years of experience in treating patients with a variety of psychiatric problems in both outpatient and inpatient setting. Edgar Thomas has been his patient for many years.
Dr. Vadim Baram: A diagnosis of schizophrenia often follows the first manifestation of mental illness, when individuals first displays symptoms of schizophrenia. For diagnosis a patient must exhibit two or more symptoms, each lasting for a significant portion of at least a one-month period. These symptoms could include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior, and negative symptoms. At least one of the qualifying symptoms must be delusions, hallucinations, or disorganized speech. Negative symptoms include apathy, lack of emotion, and difficulty concentrating. Scales measuring positive and negative symptoms in schizophrenia and track treatment response in schizophrenics remain the primary mode of assessing and diagnosing schizophrenia by clinicians and researchers.
Edgar Thomas: When I went to the hospital I met Dr. Baram, after I explained the symptoms that I had, he diagnosed me with schizophrenia. He seemed like he was concerned, he kind of worked with each issue, as an issue by itself.
Dr. Greg Mattingly: In addition to a psychiatrist, behavioral therapy, and psychiatric therapy, medication is used. Many treatment options are available for schizophrenia and finding the right treatment that works for each individual is important. There is a stigma associated with schizophrenia, but it’s important to seek out advice from a medical professional, gather information about your disease, discuss your symptoms to find the appropriate treatment to manage your disease.
Olga (Host): Intra-Cellular Therapies, a leading biotech company was founded on Paul Greengard’s Nobel-prize winning research that uncovered how therapies affect the inner working of cells in the body. Their mission is to develop treatments to improve the lives of individuals suffering from neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders.
Dr. Greg Mattingly: One treatment I’m happy to discuss today is CAPLYTA, which the FDA approved in 2019 as a treatment that effectively treats schizophrenia in adults. This medication is a once-a-day pill where the starting dose is the effective dose, so you’re on the right dose from the start. In 2 clinical trials, CAPLTYA was proven to help control symptoms of schizophrenia. In both clinical trials, CAPLYTA was significantly better than a sugar pill or placebo at managing schizophrenia symptoms. Patients taking this medication also showed an improvement in the overall severity of their condition, which was measured by a schizophrenia rating scale. It’s important for patients and caregivers to know that CAPLYTA is not for everyone. Elderly dementia patients for example, have an increased risk of death or stroke. Serious side effects can occur including a life-threatening reaction that can cause fever, stiff muscles, or confusion. Now it’s important to know that CAPLYTA, like other drugs used to treat schizophrenia, may cause problems with your metabolism, including high blood sugar, diabetes, increased fat (cholesterol and triglyceride) levels in your blood and weight gain. However, in short-term trials, patients taking CAPLYTA had weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar changes similar to a sugar pill. You should know that each drug has its own specific risk profile. In a long-term study of CAPLYTA for one year, patients had on average weight loss of 7 pounds which I find favorable for this patient population.
Olga (Host) Voiceover: Your doctor should check your blood sugar, fat levels, and weight before you start and during treatment with CAPLYTA. Extremely high blood sugar levels can lead to coma or death. You should tell your doctor if you have any symptoms of high blood sugar, such as weakness, increased thirst and urination. Like other schizophrenia drugs, CAPYLTA may cause bodily movements that you cannot control. This can be a sign of tardive dyskinesia, may not go away even if you stop taking CAPLYTA, and may start after you stop taking CAPLYTA. In 4-6 week, studies of CAPLYTA, movement disorders were uncommon and similar to sugar pill. CAPLYTA can also cause dizziness upon standing, falls, and impaired judgment may occur. Patients should be aware that the most common side effects they may experience with CAPLYTA are sleepiness and dry mouth. Sleepiness with CAPLYTA was predominantly mild.
Dr. Greg Mattingly: There are a lot of schizophrenia medications. If you or a loved one are looking for a schizophrenia treatment, you should have a conversation with your doctor about your symptoms so they can find the best treatment.
Dr. Vadim Baram: Schizophrenia is complicated and so is treating it. We understand that starting a new treatment can feel overwhelming, but your doctor and healthcare team will help you every step of the way.
Edgar Thomas: Taking the CAPLYTA some of the things I can see progress is when I talk to people now I don’t have to focus on the voices I can focus on the communication that I’m having with people. I can cook for myself, I can clean for myself. I used to be a real avid piano player and I’m just getting back to it. Taking the CAPLYTA…it’s the only thing that worked for me, that’s why I’m sticking to it
Olga (Host): If you’re affected by schizophrenia, have a conversation with your doctor about CAPLYTA today. Please listen to the Important Safety Information, including information about the Boxed Warning, at the end of this video. Important Safety Information and the full prescribing information is available at CAPLYTA.com and you can always visit our website TheBalancingAct.com.
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