Efficacy and safety of brexpiprazole in acute management of psychiatric disorders: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2020 May;35(3):119-128. doi: 10.1097/YIC.0000000000000308.


Brexpiprazole is a new atypical antipsychotic for schizophrenia management and as adjunct in major depressive disorder (MDD). We searched randomized controlled trials (RCT) to review brexpiprazole efficacy and tolerability in acute management of schizophrenia and MDD using PubMed, EUDRACT, ClinicalTrials.gov and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. A meta-analysis was conducted using the identified 14 RCT to assess its efficacy using positive and negative syndrome scale (PANSS), clinical global impressions - severity of illness (CGI-S), personal and social performance scale (PSP), Montgomery-Åsberg depression rating scale (MADRS), Sheehan disability scale (SDS) and Hamilton depression rating scale (HDRS17). The mean difference comparing brexpiprazole and placebo were PANSS -4.48, CGI-S -0.23 and PSP 3.24 favoring brexpiprazole. Compared to aripiprazole and quetiapine, brexpiprazole showed similar efficacy. In MDD, brexpiprazole showed efficacy compared to placebo demonstrated by MADRS -1.25, SDS -0.37 and HDRS17 -1.28. Brexpiprazole was associated with side effects including akathisia risk ratio (RR) = 1.72; weight increase RR = 2.74 and somnolence RR = 1.87. Compared to 4 mg, brexpiprazole 2 mg was associated with less risk of akathisia and somnolence. Brexpiprazole demonstrated significant improvements in schizophrenia and MDD and is well-tolerated; however, associated with akathisia and somnolence. These findings will guide psychiatrists and pharmacists in their clinical role for supporting psychiatric patients care.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Aripiprazole / therapeutic use
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Quetiapine Fumarate / therapeutic use
  • Quinolones / adverse effects
  • Quinolones / therapeutic use*
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Thiophenes / adverse effects
  • Thiophenes / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Quinolones
  • Thiophenes
  • brexpiprazole
  • Quetiapine Fumarate
  • Aripiprazole