Two 6-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of ziprasidone in outpatients with bipolar I depression: did baseline characteristics impact trial outcome?

J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2012 Aug;32(4):470-8. doi: 10.1097/JCP.0b013e31825ccde5.


Two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 6-week studies comparing ziprasidone versus placebo for treatment of bipolar depression (BPD) failed to meet their primary study objectives, indicating that either ziprasidone is ineffective in the treatment of BPD or the study failed. Adult outpatients with bipolar I depression with 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression total score more than 20 at screening and baseline received either ziprasidone 40 to 80 mg/d, 120 to 160 mg/d, or placebo (study 1), or ziprasidone 40 to 160 mg/d or placebo (study 2). Primary efficacy measure in both studies was change from baseline in Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale total scores at week 6 (end of the study). Mixed-model repeated-measures methodology was used to analyze the primary efficacy measure in both studies. Secondary efficacy measures in both studies included Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression total score and Clinical Global Impression-Improvement score. Post hoc analyses were conducted for both studies to examine potential reasons for study failure. In both, ziprasidone treatment groups failed to separate statistically from placebo for change from baseline Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale score at week 6. Response rates were 49%, 53%, and 46% for placebo, ziprasidone 40 to 80 mg/d, and ziprasidone 120 to 160 mg/d, respectively (study 1), and 51% and 53% for placebo and ziprasidone 40 to 160 mg/d, respectively (study 2). Ziprasidone 40 to 160 mg/d did not show superiority over placebo at week 6 in the treatment of BPD. Post hoc analyses revealed serious inconsistencies in subject rating that may have limited the ability to detect a difference between drug and placebo response. Rating reliability warrants further investigation to improve clinical trial methodology in psychiatry.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Outpatients / psychology*
  • Piperazines / adverse effects
  • Piperazines / therapeutic use*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Thiazoles / adverse effects
  • Thiazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Piperazines
  • Thiazoles
  • ziprasidone