Impact of Obesity on Brexpiprazole Pharmacokinetics: Proposal for Improved Initiation of Treatment

J Clin Pharmacol. 2022 Jan;62(1):55-65. doi: 10.1002/jcph.1947. Epub 2021 Aug 26.


Brexpiprazole is an oral antipsychotic agent indicated for use in patients with schizophrenia or as adjunctive treatment for major depressive disorder. As obesity (body mass index ≥35 kg/m2 ) has the potential to affect drug pharmacokinetics and is a common comorbidity of both schizophrenia and major depressive disorder, it is important to understand changes in brexpiprazole disposition in this population. This study uses a whole-body physiologically based pharmacokinetic model to compare the pharmacokinetics of brexpiprazole in obese and normal-weight (body mass index 18-25 kg/m2 ) individuals known to be cytochrome P450 2D6 extensive metabolizers (EMs) and poor metabolizers (PMs). The physiologically based pharmacokinetic simulations demonstrated significant differences in the time to effective concentrations between obese and normal-weight individuals within metabolizer groups according to the label-recommended titration. Simulations using an alternative dosing strategy of 1 week of twice-daily dosing in obese EMs or 2 weeks of twice-daily dosing in obese poor metabolizers, followed by a return to once-daily dosing, yielded more consistent plasma concentrations between normal-weight and obese patients without exceeding the area under the plasma concentration-time curve observed in the normal-weight EMs. These alternative dosing strategies reduce the time to effective concentrations in obese patients and may improve clinical response to brexpiprazole.

Keywords: PBPK; brexpiprazole; obesity; pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism; special populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Area Under Curve
  • Body Mass Index
  • Computer Simulation
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / metabolism*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Quinolones / administration & dosage
  • Quinolones / pharmacokinetics*
  • Quinolones / therapeutic use
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy
  • Thiophenes / administration & dosage
  • Thiophenes / pharmacokinetics*
  • Thiophenes / therapeutic use


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Quinolones
  • Thiophenes
  • brexpiprazole
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6