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Over One Thousand Psychiatrists Gather Online for Second Asia Pacific Psychiatry Symposium

Discussion focusing on new therapeutic targets for schizophrenia and challenges in diagnosing and treating bipolar disorder

The Second Asia Pacific Psychiatry Symposium hosted by Luye Pharma Group took place as an online event on October 17, 2020. More than 1,000 psychiatrists and experts from 9 countries and regions including mainland China, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, and Thailand gathered on "the cloud", to hold talks on the latest developments in the treatment of mental disorders, and on clinical diagnosis, treatment strategies and related challenges.

Dr. Lo Tak Lam, Professor of Psychiatry from the University of Hong Kong and Chairman of the Mental Health Association of Hong Kong, served as the chairman of the conference. A number of psychiatrists from Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Malaysia delivered keynote speeches at the conference.

With a high prevalence and relapse rate, mental disorders have become a major health concern to the general public worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, close to 1 billion people around the world are living with mental disorders, one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide. And now, billions of people have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is having a further impact on the general public's mental health. Among mental disorders, schizophrenia is associated with considerable disability; those suffering are 2-3 times more likely to die early compared with the general population. In particular, people with bipolar disorder suffer from a higher suicide rate – as much as 20 times higher than the general population, where untreated. These diseases can have a serious impact, causing considerable harm to the patients, their families, and even to society as a whole.

The agenda of this year's conference focused primarily on schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Key topics included pipeline medications for schizophrenia, the pros and cons of long-term antipsychotic treatment in people living with schizophrenia, treatment of bipolar disorders in real world practice, and difficulties in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with bipolar disorder and the corresponding solutions. All of the topics triggered lively debate among the attendees.

Schizophrenia: exploring new therapeutic targets in drug development through an interdisciplinary approach

The participating experts discussed hot topics at the frontiers of academia and shared their findings in interdisciplinary areas concerning schizophrenia, including the potential for drug development in the fields of psychiatry and neurology, and the potential targets and new mechanisms of action (MoA). They sought to provide new ideas for psychiatrists to develop new drugs that go beyond the traditional Dopamine-2 receptor and 5-HT2 receptors. Regarding unmet needs in the treatment of schizophrenia, where there is significant potential for new therapies, such as in relieving negative symptoms and improving cognitive disorder, they examined and analyzed the therapeutic targets of new drugs as well as potential breakthrough therapies.

In exchanges on interdisciplinary studies, experts offered advice to young psychiatrist participants that neurobiology is a frontier area worth studying and exploring, with much potential for new drug development, clinical diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders in the future.

The pros and cons of long-term antipsychotic treatment in people living with schizophrenia is a controversial issue in clinical practice. This topic was also discussed at the conference, and the corresponding treatment was recommended.

Bipolar disorder: reducing missed diagnoses and misdiagnoses through the assessment of multiple factors

The clinical manifestations of bipolar disorder are complex and diverse – its clinical symptoms fluctuate significantly, and it can easily be misdiagnosed as other mental disorders such as major depressive disorder. The high rates of missed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, and comorbidity, and the severe challenges faced in treatment, are all major problems.

Attending experts pointed out that bipolar disorder is a chronic disease that can constantly switch between remission and relapse, and it therefore requires special attention. In designing a treatment plan, there must be a comprehensive assessment of multiple factors, including the symptoms and progression, the bipolar type, the risk of suicide, the risk of violence, the efficacy of and tolerance to the drug used, the patient's compliance with treatment, and the patient's treatment history. Furthermore, regarding specific types of bipolar disorder, experts recommended drugs for first-line, second-line and third-line treatments, and pointed out that Quetiapine is one of the treatment options for the full spectrum of mood disorders.

Luye Pharma: contributing to the development of the central nervous system therapeutic area, and providing support for physicians and patients

The Asia Pacific Psychiatry Symposium is positioned to be forward-looking, practical and innovative. A specialized academic platform addressing the latest developments in mental disorders and clinical practice, the symposium is now in its second year. Compared with last year, this year's successful conference saw increased attendee levels, covered more countries and regions, exerted greater influence, and attracted a higher level of professional attention.

Luye Pharma, the conference organizer, has had a long presence in the central nervous system (CNS) therapeutic area. In addition to offering high-quality and innovative drugs, the company is also committed to providing professional support and services to physicians and patients. Luye Pharma hopes to make this conference a well-established, academic brand, to organize more academic exchanges and to work with CNS experts and scholars, driving the progress of clinical diagnosis and treatment in the field.

CNS is one of the core therapeutic areas for Luye Pharma. The company has a series of new drugs in the pipeline covering multiple diseases including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. Several new drugs have reached the late-clinical stage or the new drug application stage in countries and regions including the United States and Europe, and it is hoped that patients around the world will soon be able to benefit from them. The company has also launched several CNS drugs, covering over 80 countries and regions around the globe.