Pimavanserin, a selective serotonin (5-HT)2A-inverse agonist, enhances the efficacy and safety of risperidone, 2mg/day, but does not enhance efficacy of haloperidol, 2mg/day: Comparison with reference dose risperidone, 6mg/day

Herbert Y. Meltzer*, Helio Elkis, Kimberly Vanover, David M. Weiner, Daniel P. van Kammen, Perry Peters, Uli Hacksell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

Most atypical antipsychotic drugs (APDs), e.g. risperidone (RIS), produce more extensive blockade of brain serotonin (5-HT)2A than dopamine (DA) D2 receptors. This distinguishes them from typical APDs, e.g. haloperidol (HAL). Our objective was to test the hypothesis that augmentation of low doses of RIS or HAL (2mg/day) with pimavanserin (PIM), a selective 5-HT2A inverse agonist, to enhance 5-HT2A receptor blockade, can achieve efficacy comparable to RIS, 6mg/day, but with lesser side effects. In a multi-center, randomized, double-blind, 6week trial, 423 patients with chronic schizophrenia experiencing a recent exacerbation of psychotic symptoms were randomized to RIS2mg+placebo (RIS2PBO), RIS2mg+PIM20mg (RIS2PIM), RIS6mg+PBO (RIS6PBO), HAL2mg+PBO (HAL2PBO), or HAL2mg+PIM20mg (HAL2PIM). Improvement in psychopathology was measured by the PANSS and CGI-S. The reduction in PANSS Total Score with RIS2PIM at endpoint was significantly greater than RIS2PBO: -23.0 vs. -16.3 (p=0.007), and not significantly different from the RIS6PBO group: -23.2 points. The percentage of patients with ≥20% improvement at day 15 in the RIS2PIM group was 62.3%, significantly greater than the RIS6PBO (42.1%; p=0.01) and the RIS2PBO groups (37.7%; p=0.002). Weight gain and hyperprolactinemia were greater in the RIS6PBO group than the RIS2PIM group but there was no difference in extrapyramidal side effects (EPS). HAL2PBO and HAL2PIM were not significantly different from each other in efficacy but HAL2PIM had less EPS at end point. Both HAL groups and RIS6PBO showed equal improvement in psychopathology at endpoint, indicating HAL 2mg/day is effective to treat an acute exacerbation in chronic schizophrenia patients. In conclusion, a sub-effective RIS dose combined with PIM to enhance 5-HT2A receptor blockade provided faster onset of action, and at endpoint, equal efficacy and better safety, compared to standard dose RIS. These results support the conclusion that 5-HT2A receptor blockade is a key component of the action of some atypical APDs and can reduce EPS due to a typical APD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-152
Number of pages9
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Volume141
Issue number2-3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012

Keywords

  • 5-HT
  • Antipsychotic
  • Extrapyramidal
  • Haloperidol
  • Pimavanserin
  • Risperidone
  • Schizophrenia
  • Weight gain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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