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BACKGROUND: Cariprazine is a novel antipsychotic agent recently approved for treating schizophrenia and bipolar mania in the USA. The sample sizes of published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of the drug are small; previous meta-analyses included few RCTs and did not specifically investigate the tolerability/safety profile of cariprazine. OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to conduct a meta-analysis of published RCTs to systematically review the tolerability and safety of cariprazine versus placebo. METHODS: We searched the clinical trial registers (the metaRegister of controlled trials, and the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform) and electronic databases (PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO and Cochrane library) up to June 2016 to identify phase II/III RCTs of cariprazine in patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder. We conducted a meta-analysis to investigate outcomes, including risks of discontinuation due to adverse events (AEs), extrapyramidal side effects (EPS) or related events, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular-related events. RESULTS: We included nine RCTs, with a total of 4324 subjects. The risk of discontinuation due to AEs for cariprazine was similar to that for placebo (risk ratio [RR] 1.13, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 0.77-1.66). Cariprazine was associated with higher risks of EPS-related events than was placebo, including risk of akathisia (RR 3.92, 95 % CI 2.83-5.43), tremor (RR 2.41, 95 % CI 1.53-3.79) and restlessness (RR 2.17, 95 % CI 1.38-3.40). The cariprazine treatment group was more likely to have clinically significant weight gain (RR 1.68, 95 % CI 1.12-2.52). No statistically significant differences in results were found in other metabolic parameters or cardiovascular-related events. CONCLUSION: There was a statistically significant higher risk of EPS-related AEs and a slight increase in mean body weight with cariprazine. There were no statistically significant effects on prolactin level or cardiovascular parameters. EPSs were the main short-term adverse reactions reported in the limited number of patients studied. Further clinical and post-marketing pharmacovigilance studies are needed to investigate the long-term safety of cariprazine.

Original publication




Journal article


Cns drugs

Publication Date





1043 - 1054


Antipsychotic Agents, Bipolar Disorder, Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic, Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic, Depressive Disorder, Major, Humans, Piperazines, Psychotic Disorders, Schizophrenia