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Effective treatments for patients with high levels of negative symptoms of schizophrenia are lacking. Brexpiprazole is a serotonin–dopamine activity modulator that is a partial agonist at 5-HT1A and dopamine D2 receptors, and an antagonist at 5-HT2A and noradrenaline alpha1B/2C receptors, all with subnanomolar potency. Long-term treatment with brexpiprazole demonstrated broad efficacy across all five Marder factor groupings, including positive, negative, disorganized thoughts, uncontrolled hostility/excitement, and anxiety/depression. This post-hoc analysis of long-term effects of brexpiprazole in patients with clinically relevant levels of negative symptoms of schizophrenia is based on data from two similarly designed short-term, placebo-controlled studies (Vector; NCT01396421 or Beacon; NCT01393613) for the brexpiprazole-treated patients who continued into an open-label extension study (Zenith; NCT01397786).
In the short-term studies, patients with acute schizophrenia were randomly assigned to fixed once-daily doses of brexpiprazole 0.25mg (Vector), 1mg (Beacon), 2mg , 4mg or placebo for 6weeks. The long-term study was an open-label, 52-week (amended to 26weeks), safety extension study with flexible-dose (1–4mg/day) brexpiprazole. The post-hoc analyses were performed on brexpiprazole-treated patients from the short-term studies who continued into the long-term study, and who had clinically relevant negative symptoms, defined as PANSS Factor Score for Negative Symptoms (PANSS-FSNS; N1, N2, N3, N4, G7, G16) of ≥24, and score of ≥4 on at least two of three core negative symptom PANSS items at randomization in the parent study. The outcome of the analysis included change from baseline to up to 58weeks in PANSS-FSNS, PANSS Total, and PSP. Safety was also assessed.
A total of 187 patients with clinically relevant levels of negative symptoms in the parent study rolled-over into the open-label extension study and were available for analysis. Eighty-three of these patients remained in the studies for 58weeks. Due to the study amendment, not all patients had the opportunity of complete 52weeks of open-label treatment. Baseline PANSS Total score was 104.4, while baseline PANSS-FSNS was 27.6 and baseline PSP Total score was 41.3. Mean change (SD) from baseline in PANSS-FSNS was –10.9 (5.0), and –44.2 (17.5) for PANSS Total score at Week 58. Change from baseline (SD) to Week 58 for PSP Total score was 24.8 (12.9) with improvement in all domains (socially useful activities, personal and social relationship, self-care, and disturbing and aggressive behaviors). The TEAEs reported ≥5% were schizophrenia (18.9%), insomnia (8.6%), weight increased (5.9%) and akathisia (5.9%).
This post-hoc analysis suggests that brexpiprazole has long-term effectiveness on negative symptoms and functioning in patients with schizophrenia and clinically relevant levels of negative symptoms.
Funding Acknowledgements: The study was funded by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization Inc. and H. Lundbeck A/S
To evaluate brexpiprazole adjunctive to antidepressant therapies (ADTs) as maintenance treatment in patients with major depressive disorder with inadequate response to ADT, utilising a novel study design.
The study comprised an 8-week prospective treatment period with open-label ADT with double-blind placebo treatment and a 24-week randomised treatment period. Investigators and patients were blinded to treatment periods, randomisation criteria, and timing of randomisation. Patients with early response to open-label ADT were withdrawn at Week 6. Patients fulfilling criteria for inadequate response were randomised to ADT+brexpiprazole 1–3 mg/day, or ADT+placebo. The primary endpoint was full remission: Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) total score ≤10 and ≥50% decrease from randomisation (i.e. baseline) in MADRS total score for at least 8 consecutive weeks.
The primary efficacy analysis failed to show a statistically significant difference between the proportions of patients on ADT+brexpiprazole (21.4%) and ADT+placebo (24.9%) achieving full remission; odds ratio: 0.83; p=0.2641. The secondary endpoint of change from baseline to Week 6 in MADRS total score showed no difference between ADT+brexpiprazole and ADT+placebo (−0.4; p=0.3259). The most frequent treatment-emergent adverse event (TEAE) in patients receiving ADT+brexpiprazole was weight increased (9.5% vs. 5.0% in ADT+placebo). The incidence of TEAEs leading to withdrawal in the randomised treatment period was 6.3% in the ADT+brexpiprazole group and 3.4% in the ADT+placebo group.
Adjunctive brexpiprazole did not differentiate from ADT+placebo on the primary endpoint of full remission. A number of design elements in this previously untried study design may have contributed to the study result. Brexpiprazole was well tolerated.
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