Aripiprazole: initial clinical experience with 142 hospitalized psychiatric patients

J Psychiatr Pract. 2005 Jul;11(4):241-7. doi: 10.1097/00131746-200507000-00004.


Background: Aripiprazole is the first dopamine D2 receptor partial-agonist approved for treatment of schizophrenia. Its apparently benign adverse-effect profile encourages broader use in other disorders, especially to limit weight gain associated with other antipsychotic or antimanic agents. We considered the first 6 months of experience with aripiprazole in psychiatric inpatients with a range of disorders.

Methods: We analyzed data obtained from medical records of patients treated with aripiprazole who were hospitalized at McLean Hospital (for 19 +/- 18 days) between December 2002 and June 2003 to evaluate dosing, tolerability, and clinical effects of this new agent in patients diagnosed with DSM-IV psychotic, major affective, or other disorders.

Results: Out of a sample of 2766 adult inpatients (65.5% women), 142 were given aripiprazole (mean final daily dose, 16.1 +/- 6.2 mg, 0.20 +/- 0.09 mg/kg body weight) for major affective disorders (52%), primary psychotic disorders (40%), and dementia (8%). CGI ratings improved by 20% on average. Adverse effects were infrequent (15.5%), were three times more likely among women, and most often involved moderate behavioral activation or nausea, with no new episodes of mania. Of the patients who were given aripiprazole, 83% continued it at discharge. Many patients were obese when they were admitted, and obesity was associated with relatively low mg/kg doses of aripiprazole.

Conclusions: Aripiprazole was used in a range of disorders and was generally well tolerated. Adverse effects may reflect its unique dopamine partial-agonist activity. Since aripiprazole is likely to be considered for obese patients, body weight should be considered in establishing adequate doses. Controlled trials of this antipsychotic agent in disorders other than schizophrenia are needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Aripiprazole
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Body Weight
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / drug therapy*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mathematical Computing
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Piperazines / adverse effects
  • Piperazines / therapeutic use*
  • Product Surveillance, Postmarketing / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychotic Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Quinolones / adverse effects
  • Quinolones / therapeutic use*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / agonists*
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Piperazines
  • Quinolones
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Aripiprazole