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Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2009;11(6):344-52. doi: 10.4088/PCC.08m00744gre.

Safety and Tolerability of Adjunctive Aripiprazole in Major Depressive Disorder: A Pooled Post Hoc Analysis (studies CN138-139 and CN138-163).

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.



To evaluate the safety and tolerability of aripiprazole adjunctive to standard antidepressant therapy (ADT) for patients with major depressive disorder (DSM-IV-TR criteria).


Data from 2 identical studies of aripiprazole augmentation (8 weeks of prospective ADT treatment followed by 6 weeks of randomized double-blind adjunctive treatment) were pooled. The incidence of treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) and weight, electrocardiogram (ECG), and laboratory measurements were assessed during the 6-week phase, including time course, severity, resolution, and predictors. The studies were conducted from June 2004 to April 2006 and September 2004 to December 2006.


The safety analysis included 737 outpatients (aripiprazole, n = 371; placebo, n = 366). The majority of patients completed the trials (aripiprazole, 86%; placebo, 88%). Common TEAEs (≥ 5% and twice the placebo rate) with aripiprazole were akathisia (25%), restlessness (12%), insomnia (8%), fatigue (8%), blurred vision (6%), and constipation (5%). Most TEAEs were of mild to moderate severity (aripiprazole, 89%; placebo, 95%). TEAE rates in the aripiprazole and placebo groups were not affected by ADT, age, or gender. Discontinuation due to TEAEs was low (aripiprazole, 3%; placebo, 1%). Mean weight change was higher with aripiprazole versus placebo (1.73 kg vs 0.38 kg, P < .001). At endpoint, clinical laboratory parameters, vital signs, and ECG indices (including QT(c) interval) were similar between groups. Akathisia with aripiprazole generally occurred in the first 3 weeks (76%), was of mild to moderate severity (92%), and led to discontinuation in 3 patients (0.8%). Within the aripiprazole group, age (18-40 years) was the only positive predictor for akathisia.


In this short-term post hoc analysis, aripiprazole as augmentation to ADT demonstrated a safety and tolerability profile similar to that in monotherapy studies in other psychiatric populations. Controlled long-term safety and efficacy data of aripiprazole as adjunctive to ADT are warranted.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifiers: NCT00095823 (CN138-139) and NCT00095758 (CN138-163).

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