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Negative symptoms in schizophrenia are heterogeneous and multidimensional; effective treatments are lacking. Cariprazine, a dopamine D3-preferring D3/D2 receptor partial agonist and serotonin 5-HT1A receptor partial agonist, was significantly more effective than risperidone in treating negative symptoms in a prospectively designed trial in patients with schizophrenia and persistent, predominant negative symptoms.
Using post hoc analyses, we evaluated change from baseline at week 26 in individual items of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) and PANSS-derived factor models using a mixed-effects model for repeated measures (MMRM) in the intent-to-treat (ITT) population (cariprazine = 227; risperidone = 227).
Change from baseline was significantly different in favor of cariprazine versus risperidone on PANSS items N1-N5 (blunted affect, emotional withdrawal, poor rapport, passive/apathetic social withdrawal, difficulty in abstract thinking) (P <.05), but not on N6 (lack of spontaneity/flow of conversation) or N7 (stereotyped thinking). On all PANSS-derived negative symptom factor models evaluated (PANSS-Factor Score for Negative Symptoms, Liemburg factors, Khan factors, Pentagonal Structure Model Negative Symptom factor), statistically significant improvement was demonstrated for cariprazine versus risperidone (P <.01). Small and similar changes in positive/depressive/EPS symptoms suggested that negative symptom improvement was not pseudospecific. Change from baseline was significantly different for cariprazine versus risperidone on PANSS-based factors evaluating other relevant symptom domains (disorganized thoughts, prosocial function, cognition; P <.05).
Since items representing different negative symptom dimensions may represent different fundamental pathophysiological mechanisms, significant improvement versus risperidone on most PANSS Negative Subscale items and across all PANSS-derived factors suggests broad-spectrum efficacy for cariprazine in treating negative symptoms of schizophrenia.
Cariprazine, a dopamine D3/D2 partial agonist atypical antipsychotic with preferential binding to D3 receptors, is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia and manic or mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder. The efficacy and safety of cariprazine was established in three randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 6-week trials in patients with acute exacerbation of schizophrenia. This 53-week study evaluated the long-term safety and tolerability of cariprazine in patients with schizophrenia.
This was a multicenter, open-label, flexible-dose study of cariprazine 3–9 mg/d in adults with schizophrenia. Participants included new patients and patients who had completed one of two phase III lead-in studies (NCT01104766, NCT01104779). Eligible patients entered a no-drug screening period of up to 1 week followed by 48 weeks of flexibly dosed, open-label cariprazine treatment (3–9 mg/d) and 4 weeks of safety follow-up.
A total of 586 patients received open-label cariprazine treatment, ~39% of whom completed the study. No unexpected safety issues or deaths were reported. The most common (≥10%) adverse events (AEs) observed were akathisia (16%), headache (13%), insomnia (13%), and weight gain (10%). Serious AEs occurred in 59 (10.1%) patients, and 73 (12.5%) patients discontinued the study due to AEs during open-label treatment. Mean changes in metabolic, hepatic, and cardiovascular parameters were not considered clinically relevant. Mean body weight increased by 1.5 kg during the study, prolactin levels decreased slightly, and measures of efficacy remained stable.
Long-term cariprazine treatment at doses up to 9 mg/d appeared to be generally safe and well tolerated in patients with schizophrenia.
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