Objective: Paliperidone palmitate is an atypical long-acting injectable (LAI) antipsychotic that has been approved for use in the US, EU, Australia and numerous other countries for acute and maintenance therapy of schizophrenia. LAI antipsychotics are often viewed as a 'last-resort' treatment for difficult-to-treat patients, however this article considers their role more broadly in the management of partial or non-adherence in schizophrenia. Method: A search of MedLine, CTR and PsychInfo was conducted to identify relevant publications and clinical trials (search term 'paliperidone palmitate', up to December 2010). The findings were discussed in a number of teleconferences and the manuscript was finalized with a face-to-face meeting of the authors group. Main findings: Relapse prevention in schizophrenia requires a comprehensive approach to treatment, which includes antipsychotic medication and psychosocial measures as well as family and/or carer involvement. Good symptom control and the interconnected issue of treatment adherence are arguably the most crucial factors for success. Carer and patient feedback should be carefully considered. Negotiation about commencing LAI therapy done early in course of disease is easier than many clinicians believe, although it is not often attempted in practice. Paliperidone palmitate is useful in both the acute and maintenance phases of treatment. Commentary: A case-based approach is presented to suggest various opportunities where use of paliperidone palmitate could be considered within the disease course of schizophrenia. Conclusions: Paliperidone palmitate offers some advantages in terms of tolerability, simplicity of treatment initiation and long duration between injections. The consensus of the authors is that rather than reserving paliperidone palmitate for use in difficult-to-treat or refractory patients, it could be used to promote adherence and prevent relapse earlier in the course of the illness.