NYMC Faculty Publications


Cariprazine and Akathisia, Restlessness, and Extrapyramidal Symptoms in Patients with Bipolar Depression

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Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


BACKGROUND: Akathisia is a neuropsychiatric syndrome that is commonly related to the use of dopamine receptor antagonists/partial agonists. The characteristics of cariprazine-related akathisia, restlessness, and extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) were investigated in patients with bipolar I depression.

METHODS: Akathisia-related data from 3 fixed-dose clinical studies of cariprazine 1.5 mg/d and 3 mg/d in bipolar depression were evaluated in pooled post hoc analyses. Outcomes related to treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) included incidence, time to onset, time to resolution, severity, discontinuations, and rescue medication use.

RESULTS: The incidence of akathisia was 7.6% for overall cariprazine (1.5 mg/d=5.5%; 3 mg/d=9.6%) and 2.1% for placebo; acute EPS occurred in 4.5% of cariprazine-treated (1.5 mg/d=3.8%; 3 mg/d=5.1%) and 2.1% of placebo-treated patients. Findings were similar for restlessness. Most TEAEs were mild/moderate (>95%), occurred during the first 3 weeks of cariprazine initiation or dose increase, and resulted in few discontinuations (

LIMITATIONS: Post hoc analyses; no active comparator.

CONCLUSIONS: In patients with bipolar depression, the incidence of cariprazine-related akathisia was higher than acute EPS or restlessness, with lower cariprazine doses associated with lower incidences of events. Akathisia and EPS TEAEs occurred early in treatment and were mild/moderate in severity. Few patients with akathisia or acute EPS discontinued treatment. Cariprazine-related akathisia and EPS can be minimized with conservative dosing and titration strategies.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifiers: NCT01396447, NCT02670538, NCT02670551.