Introduction: Cariprazine is an atypical antipsychotic in clinical development for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar mania/mixed episodes.
Areas covered: The purpose of this review is to describe the chemistry, pharmacodynamic profile, pharmacokinetics, and clinical profile of cariprazine.
Expert opinion: Cariprazine is a dopamine D3-preferring D3/D2 receptor partial agonist. Doses ≥ 1.5 mg/d yielded 69 - 75% D2/D3 receptor occupancy as measured in positron emission tomography scans. Mean half-life for cariprazine was 2 - 5 d over a dose range of 1.5 - 12.5 mg. Cariprazine produces two clinically relevant metabolites: desmethyl-cariprazine and didesmethyl-cariprazine, the latter having a longer half-life than cariprazine. Exposure to didesmethyl-cariprazine exceeded that of the parent drug. Cariprazine is metabolized by CYP3A4 and to a lesser extent by CYP2D6. The efficacy and safety of cariprazine have been so far investigated only in a few short-term (unpublished) clinical trials; however, three studies in schizophrenia and three studies in bipolar mania/mixed episodes evidenced a statistically significant therapeutic effect compared to placebo for cariprazine at doses ranging from 1.5 to 12 mg/d. There does not appear to be clinically relevant adverse effects of cariprazine on metabolic variables. Commonly encountered adverse events associated with cariprazine include insomnia, extrapyramidal symptoms, akathisia, sedation, nausea, dizziness, and constipation.