Efficacy and Safety of Cariprazine in Acute Exacerbation of Schizophrenia: Results From an International, Phase III Clinical Trial

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This phase III study evaluated the efficacy and safety of cariprazine, a dopamine D3 and D2 receptor partial agonist with preferential binding to D3 receptors, in patients with acute exacerbation of schizophrenia. Patients were randomized to 6-week double-blind treatment with placebo, cariprazine 3 to 6 mg/d, or cariprazine 6 to 9 mg/d. Primary and secondary efficacy: change from baseline to week 6 in Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale total and Clinical Global Impressions-Severity scores, respectively, analyzed using a mixed-effects model for repeated measures adjusting for multiple comparisons. Safety included treatment-emergent adverse events, clinical laboratory values, vital signs, electrocardiograms, ophthalmologic examination, Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale, and extrapyramidal symptom scales. In the Safety Population (placebo, n = 147; cariprazine 3–6 mg/d, n = 151; cariprazine 6–9 mg/d, n = 148), 60.5% of patients completed the study. At week 6, statistically significant least squares mean differences in favor of cariprazine versus placebo were observed for Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale total score (3–6 mg/d: −6.8, P = 0.003; 6–9 mg/d: −9.9, P < 0.001) and Clinical Global Impressions-Severity (3–6 mg/d: −0.3, P = 0.012; 6–9 mg/d: −0.5, P < 0.001). Common treatment-emergent adverse events (≥5% and twice the rate of placebo) in both cariprazine groups were akathisia, extrapyramidal disorder, and tremor; most were mild to moderate in severity. Mean changes in metabolic parameters were generally small and similar between groups. Prolactin levels decreased in all groups. In conclusion, cariprazine 3 to 6 and 6 to 9 mg/d versus placebo demonstrated significant improvement on primary and secondary efficacy parameters. Cariprazine was generally well tolerated. These results suggest that cariprazine may be a new and effective treatment for schizophrenia.

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