The safety and tolerability of cariprazine in long-term treatment of schizophrenia: a post hoc pooled analysis

BMC Psychiatry. 2017 Aug 24;17(1):305. doi: 10.1186/s12888-017-1459-z.


Background: Schizophrenia is a chronic and debilitating neuropsychiatric disorder that often requires long-term pharmacotherapy to manage symptoms and prevent relapse. Cariprazine is a potent dopamine D3 and D2 receptor partial agonist that is FDA-approved in the US for the treatment of schizophrenia and manic or mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder in adults; the recommended dose range is 1.5-6 mg/d.

Methods: To further characterize the long-term safety of cariprazine, data from two 48-week open-label, flexible-dose extension studies were pooled for post hoc analyses. Outcomes were evaluated in the pooled safety population (patients who received ≥1 dose of cariprazine during an open-label extension period); findings were summarized using descriptive statistics for the overall cariprazine group and in modal daily dose groups (1.5-3, 4.5-6, and 9 mg/d).

Results: Of the 679 patients in the overall cariprazine safety population, 40.1% completed the study. The only adverse events (AEs) leading to discontinuation of ≥2% of patients in any dose group were akathisia, worsening of schizophrenia, and psychotic disorder. Treatment-emergent AEs (TEAEs) of akathisia, insomnia, weight increased, and headache were reported in ≥10% of the overall population. Mean prolactin levels decreased in all dose groups (overall, -15.4 ng/mL). Clinically insignificant changes in aminotransferase levels and alkaline phosphatase were observed; no dose-response relationship was observed across groups. Mean total (-5.3 mg/dL), low-density lipoprotein (-3.5 mg/dL), and high-density lipoprotein (-0.8 mg/dL) cholesterol levels decreased; no dose-response relationship was observed for metabolic parameters. Mean change in body weight was 1.58 kg; body weight increase and decrease ≥7% occurred in 27% and 11% of patients, respectively. Mean changes in cardiovascular parameters, including blood pressure and pulse, were generally not considered clinically significant. EPS-related TEAEs that occurred in ≥5% of patients were akathisia, tremor, restlessness, and extrapyramidal disorder.

Conclusion: In these post hoc pooled analyses of data from 2 long-term open-label studies, treatment with cariprazine was generally safe and well tolerated. Results support the safety and tolerability of cariprazine within the FDA-recommended dose range of 1.5-6 mg/d for schizophrenia.

Clinical trials registration: NCT01104792, NCT00839852.

Keywords: Atypical antipsychotic; Cariprazine; Long-term safety; Open-label; Post hoc analysis; Schizophrenia.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Akathisia, Drug-Induced
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Piperazines / adverse effects
  • Piperazines / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Piperazines
  • cariprazine

Associated data