Novartis has announced the launch of its new schizophrenia treatment Fanapt as a proven alternative to existing medications available in the US.

Fanapt is a twice-daily, oral antipsychotic that was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May 2009.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation CEO Ludwig Hantson said that the launch of Fanapt meets an important need for alternative medications.

“In clinical trials, Fanapt was shown to be effective and also showed a low incidence of certain side effects, and the percentage of patients who discontinued treatment was similar to that of placebo,” Hantson said.

Schizophrenia affects 2.4 million people in the US, but show varying levels of response and tolerance to available therapies, resulting in as many as 74% of all patients discontinuing their medication before completing 18 months of treatment.