Objective: 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.
Methods: 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.
Results: 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.
Conclusions: Long-term cariprazine treatment at doses up to 9 mg/d appeared to be generally safe and well tolerated in patients with schizophrenia.
Keywords: Cariprazine; antipsychotics; dopamine receptors; long-term safety; schizophrenia.