Broad Efficacy of Cariprazine on Depressive Symptoms in Bipolar Disorder and the Clinical Implications



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Introduction: Bipolar disorder is a complex mood disorder characterized by a chronic and subtle course of fluctuating manic/hypomanic and depressive symptoms. Cariprazine, a dopamine D3-preferring D3/D2 receptor partial agonist with serotonin 5-HT1A receptor partial agonist and serotonin 5-HT2A antagonist properties, is approved to treat manic and depressive episodes of bipolar disorder. Post hoc analyses evaluated efficacy across symptoms in bipolar depression.

Methods: Pooled data were analyzed from 3 phase 2 or 3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of adults with bipolar disorder and a major depressive episode. Mean change from baseline to week 6 in Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) total score and individual item scores were analyzed in individual dose groups (1.5 mg/d, 3 mg/d) and overall cariprazine (1.5–3 mg/d). Pooled safety was evaluated via adverse events.

Results: A significantly greater difference in mean change from baseline in MADRS total score was seen for each cariprazine dose group versus placebo (least squares mean difference vs placebo: 1.5–3 mg/d = −2.6, 1.5 mg/d = −2.8, 3 mg/d = −2.4) (P < .001 all). Significant differences versus placebo were seen on all individual MADRS items except inner tension for the overall cariprazine group (P < .05). Cariprazine was generally well tolerated.

Conclusions: Cariprazine demonstrated broad efficacy across symptoms of depression in bipolar disorder. In previous post hoc analyses, cariprazine also demonstrated broad efficacy across manic symptoms, suggesting that it is effective across the wide range of symptoms on the bipolar spectrum. A 1.5-mg/d starting dose and slow titration resulted in lower rates of some adverse events in the bipolar depression studies versus the mania studies.

Trial Registration: identifiers: NCT01396447, NCT02670538, NCT02670551

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2020;22(5):20m02611