The Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) has approved the use of Paliperidone Palmitate, a drug manufactured by Janssen pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson, for the maintenance treatment of schizophrenia in adults, whose condition has already been stabilized by treatment with paliperidone.
Paliperidone Palmitate is a second generation long acting injectable antipsychotic, administered monthly as a maintenance treatment of patients with schizophrenia.
The new drug works as a receptor antagonist of dopamine and serotonin, leading to the stabilization of these two chemicals in the brain.
The approval is expected to boost ongoing efforts aimed at addressing the burden of mental illness and access to quality mental health care in Kenya.
The prescription only drug is distributed locally by Johnson & Johnson Middle East FZ LLC, locally known as Janssen Kenya, as part of the global pharmaceutical company´s commitment to enhance access to essential medicines.
Confirming the recent approval Thursday, Janssen Kenya Country Manager Marseille Onyango noted that burden of schizophrenia and related illnesses was on the rise and the introduction of Paliperidone Palmitate in the market would proliferate access to more treatment options for patients with schizophrenia.
Onyango said the pharmaceutical company will continue to support national efforts to de-stigmatize mental health by supporting awareness and capacity building initiatives.
“As a company committed to bringing innovative medicines to patients, we want to play our part and join forces in the national mental health policy rollout agenda as we aspire for better health outcomes for all,” he said.
On his part, Janssen Country Director for Sub Saharan Africa and Syria Bassem Haider, emphasized the company’s strong heritage in neuroscience.
“We are a proud pioneer in the field. It is our mission to reduce the burden, disability and devastation caused by mental health disorders and transform individual lives,” he said in a press statement sent to newsrooms Thursday.
Haider expressed optimism that the new treatment will provide much needed relief for patients with schizophrenia and their families.
By Alice Gworo