Original Investigation

Psychopharmacology

, Volume 166, Issue 4, pp 391-399

Switching patients to aripiprazole from other antipsychotic agents: a multicenter randomized study

  • Daniel E. CaseyAffiliated withMental Health Division (P3MIRECC), VA Medical Center Email author 
  • , William H. CarsonAffiliated withOtsuka America Pharmaceutical Inc
  • , Anutosh R. SahaAffiliated withOtsuka Maryland Research Institute
  • , Amy LiebeskindAffiliated withLenox Hill Hospital
  • , Mirza W. AliAffiliated withOtsuka Maryland Research Institute
  • , Darlene JodyAffiliated withBristol-Myers Squibb
  • , Gary G. IngenitoAffiliated withOtsuka Maryland Research Institute
  • , on behalf of the Aripiprazole Study Group

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Abstract

Rationale

Switching patients from one antipsychotic to another can lead to tolerability problems or transient symptom exacerbations. It is important to compare switching strategies to determine which methods produce the best possible patient outcomes.

Objective

To investigate the efficacy, safety and tolerability of three dosing strategies for switching chronic, stable patients with schizophrenia from current oral antipsychotic monotherapy to once-daily oral aripiprazole monotherapy.

Method

Patients in this 8-week, open-label, outpatient study were randomized to: 1) immediate initiation of 30 mg/day aripiprazole with simultaneous immediate discontinuation of current antipsychotic; 2) immediate initiation of 30 mg/day aripiprazole while tapering off current antipsychotic over 2 weeks; or 3) up-titrating aripiprazole to 30 mg/day over 2 weeks, while simultaneously tapering off current antipsychotic. Efficacy assessments included PANSS, CGI-S, and CGI-I scores. Safety assessments included: adverse events (AEs) recording, evaluation of extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS), vital signs, ECG, and clinical laboratory tests.

Results

Efficacy with aripiprazole was maintained during the study with numerical improvements compared with baseline in all three groups. The overall incidence of AEs was broadly comparable across all groups, and AEs were generally mild to moderate in severity and time-limited. Discontinuations due to AEs were comparable across the groups. No deterioration in EPS occurred in any group. The reduction in body weight and plasma prolactin levels following switch to aripiprazole were comparable across the three groups.

Conclusion

Any of the three strategies evaluated can be used safely for switching patients to aripiprazole from antipsychotic monotherapy. Furthermore, patients' symptoms may continue to improve after switching to aripiprazole.

Keywords

Aripiprazole Schizophrenia Atypical antipsychotic Switching