Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare the effects of risperidone long-acting injection (RLAI) and paliperidone palmitate (PP) on non-acute-phase social functioning in patients with schizophrenia. Patients and Methods: In this 6-month pilot, open-label, randomized controlled study, 30 patients with schizophrenia who had been treated with RLAI were randomly allocated to the RLAI continuation group or switched to the PP group. Patients were evaluated at baseline and 6 months with the Social Functioning Scale (SFS) as the primary outcome variable and University of California San Diego Performance-Based Skills Assessment Brief (UPSA-B), Social Emotional Cognition Task (SECT), Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), and Drug-Induced Extrapyramidal Symptoms Scale (DIEPSS) scores as secondary outcomes. Results: At baseline, the two groups did not significantly differ in demographic or clinical features. The two groups did not differ in total score changes for the UPSA-B, the SECT, the PANSS, and the DIEPSS. However, the total scores and the two subscales of the SFS, i.e. independence-competence and independence-performance, were more improved in the PP group compared to the RLAI group (total scores, p = 0.038; competence, p = 0.001, and performance, p = 0.007, respectively). Conclusion: These results suggest that PP may improve the total social functioning, independent life competence, and performance as compared to the RLAI group. However, these results are preliminary and need independent replication in larger samples before any definitive statement can be made.

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