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The Use of Aripiprazole in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Preliminary Observations in 8 Patients

J Clin Psychiatry 2005;66(1):49-51

Objective: To assess the effectiveness of aripiprazole, an atypical antipsychotic with dopamine- and serotonin-stabilizing properties, as monotherapy in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Method: Adult subjects meeting DSM-IV criteria for OCD who were not currently receiving pharmacotherapy for the disorder were entered into an 8-week open-label trial of treatment with aripiprazole (10-30 mg/day). Efficacy assessments included the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (YBOCS) and the Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale. Safety assessments included evaluation of vital signs, weight, and treatment-emergent side effects. Data were collected from June 2003 to August 2004.

Results: Eight subjects were enrolled, 7 of whom took at least 1 dose of study medication. Using the last observation carried forward, the mean total YBOCS score decreased from 23.9 at baseline to 17.6 at the final visit (p = .06). More pronounced improvement was observed in compulsive symptoms (p < .05) compared with obsessive symptoms (p = .09). Three subjects (43%) responded to treatment, showing a 30% or greater reduction in YBOCS total score. Two subjects discontinued treatment within 1 week due to side effects (akathisia, nausea). While no changes were noted in vital signs, a mean weight gain of 1.8 kg was observed.

Conclusion: Although from a small, open-label study, these results suggest that aripiprazole holds promise for treating OCD. Larger, controlled studies of aripiprazole as monotherapy and as augmentation in partial responders to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are needed.