Cariprazine specificity profile in the treatment of acute schizophrenia: a meta-analysis and meta-regression of randomized-controlled trials

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Cariprazine is a new dopamine D2 and D3 receptor partial agonist antipsychotic. Meta-analytic evidence of efficacy in acute schizophrenia and specific groups of patients is lacking. We carried out a meta-analysis in patients with acute schizophrenia to evaluate the efficacy of cariprazine over placebo and active comparators in overall symptoms, positive and negative symptoms and quality of life. Low and high (≥6 mg/day) doses were tested separately. The possible effect of clinical-demographic modulators was also tested. Four studies (2144 patients) were included. Both high and low cariprazine doses proved superior to placebo in all symptom domains. The standardized mean difference (SMD) to placebo showed a modest impact on overall symptoms compared with meta-analytic results for other antipsychotics (SMD was similar to lurasidone, asenapine, ziprasidone and aripiprazole, but lower than risperidone, quetiapine and olanzapine). The SMD to placebo on negative symptoms was superior to many antipsychotics including aripiprazole, with a slightly more relevant effect of cariprazine low doses. This effect was probably on secondary negative symptoms since the short-term follow-up of the studies included. Meta-regression data further refined the compound clinical profile, suggesting that cariprazine may be particularly useful in young patients with a relatively short duration of disease.

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