Abstract

Aripiprazole is a novel atypical antipsychotic for the treatment of schizophrenia. It is a D2 receptor partial agonist with partial agonist activity at 5-HT1A receptors and antagonist activity at 5-HT2A receptors. The long-term efficacy and safety of aripiprazole (30 mg/d) relative to haloperidol (10 mg/d) were investigated in two 52-wk, randomized, double-blind, multicentre studies (using similar protocols which were prospectively identified to be pooled for analysis) in 1294 patients in acute relapse with a diagnosis of chronic schizophrenia and who had previously responded to antipsychotic medications. Aripiprazole demonstrated long-term efficacy that was comparable or superior to haloperidol across all symptoms measures, including significantly greater improvements for PANSS negative subscale scores and MADRS total score (p<0.05). The time to discontinuation for any reason was significantly greater with aripiprazole than with haloperidol (p=0.0001). Time to discontinuation due to adverse events or lack of efficacy was significantly greater with aripiprazole than with haloperidol (p=0.0001). Aripiprazole was associated with significantly lower scores on all extrapyramidal symptoms assessments than haloperidol (p<0.001). In summary, aripiprazole demonstrated efficacy equivalent or superior to haloperidol with associated benefits for safety and tolerability. Aripiprazole represents a promising new option for the long-term treatment of schizophrenia.