Cariprazine as a maintenance therapy in the prevention of mood episodes in adults with bipolar I disorder

Bipolar Disord. 2024 Apr 12. doi: 10.1111/bdi.13421. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: Cariprazine treats acute manic and depressive episodes in bipolar I disorder (BP-I), but its efficacy in preventing relapse of mood episode remains unknown.

Methods: In this phase 3b, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, patients with BP-I with acute manic or depressive episodes (each with/without mixed features), were treated with cariprazine 3.0 mg/day during a 16-week open-label treatment period; those who achieved stable remission within 8 weeks and remained stable for at least another 8 weeks were randomized to receive cariprazine 1.5 or 3.0 mg per day or placebo in the double-blind treatment period for up to 39 weeks. The primary efficacy endpoint was time to relapse of any mood episode. Adverse events (AEs) were assessed.

Results: Patients (440/896) enrolled in the open-label treatment period achieved stability criteria and were randomized to receive cariprazine 3.0 mg/day (n = 148), cariprazine 1.5 mg/day (n = 147), or placebo (n = 145) in the double-blind treatment period. Relapse rates were 17.9%, 16.8%, and 19.7% in the cariprazine 3.0 mg/day, cariprazine 1.5 mg/day, and placebo groups, respectively. Neither dose of cariprazine was more effective than placebo on the primary outcome (3.0 mg/day: HR = 0.89, [95% CI: 0.5, 1.5]; 1.5 mg/day: HR = 0.83, 95% CI [0.5, 1.4]). The most frequently reported AEs (≥5%) were akathisia, headache, insomnia, and nausea in the open-label treatment period and increased weight and insomnia in the double-blind treatment period. In the open-label and double-blind treatment periods, 7.5% and 1.6% of patients experienced an AE leading to discontinuation.

Conclusion: Cariprazine was not superior to placebo in the prevention of relapses in this study. Relapse rates were unusually low in the placebo group. Cariprazine was well-tolerated.

Keywords: antipsychotic; bipolar disorder; cariprazine; depression; mania; mood disorders; recurrence.

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