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Abilify Enhances Antidepressant Response

November 29, 2005

Abilify (aripiprazole), an atypical antipsychotic, may enhance the response to antidepressants in people who have treatment-resistant major depression, according to a recent study.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (October issue) and reported by Reuters Health on 25 November 2005.

Doctors often prescribe atypical antipsychotic agents because of their ability to augment the effects of antidepressants among people who have refractory mood disorders, wrote lead author Dr George I Papakostas and colleagues, according to Reuters.

Abilify is unique among atypical antipsychotic medications and thus may be more effective than other drugs in this class, according to Dr Papakostos, and Abilify may also have a better adverse-effect profile:

"Studies conducted so far in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder suggest that agents such as aripiprazole and ziprasadone (Geodon) may have advantages in terms of less weight gain ... stiffness, and lipid abnormalities compared with other atypical antipsychotic agents, including olanzapine (Zyprexa), clozapine (Clozaril), quetiapine (Seroquel), and risperidone (Risperdal)."

Two Clinical Studies

The study by Papakostas' and colleagues included 12 people who had received treatment with an antidepressant for at least 6 weeks, but who still had significant depressive symptoms.

Participants initially received Abilify at doses of 10-15 milligrams, titrated up to a maximum daily dose of 30 milligrams over a period of 8 weeks.

Within this group, seven participants responded (with response defined as having at least a 50% reduction in depressive symptoms) and five patients went into remission.

"When we examined the rate of change of depressive symptoms over time, improvement with aripiprazole appeared robust and rapid, with a considerable proportion of overall improvement having occurred within the first week of treatment," the researchers wrote, according to Reuters.

A second study supports these findings. In a related paper in the same issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Dr Jeffrey S Smith, of Northbrooke Research Center in Brown Deer, Wisconsin, and Dr. Charles B Nemeroff, of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, reported on a similar study that included 15 participants who received antidepressant for at least 8 weeks.

In the second study, participants received Abilify at doses of 2.5-10 milligrams daily. By week 8, 14 of these participants had responded to treatment, and seven had achieved remission.

Abilify plus an antidepressant for mood disorders, Reuters Health, 25 November 2005.
1326 Aripiprazole Augmentation of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors for Treatment-Resistant Major Depressive Disorder, George I Papakostas et al. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, volume 66(10), pages 1326-1331, October 2005.

Posted: November 2005