A study pitting the popular antipsychotic Risperdal against the new treatment Vraylar in a pool of patients with schizophrenia found that the newer drug did a better job of improving negative symptoms of the disease than its decades-old counterpart.
Risperdal, first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993, contains the active ingredient risperidone. It is now indicated for adults and children with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability with autism. It is sometimes prescribed off-label to treat behavioral conditions including ADHD.
Vraylar, known chemically as cariprazine, was FDA approved in 2015 to treat schizophrenia and acute manic or mixed episodes with bipolar I disorder.
The study, conducted by researchers from the Gedeon Richter Plc, in Budapest, Hungary, was a randomized, double-blind, phase 3b trial involving 66 hospitals, university clinics and private practices in 11 European countries. Researchers enrolled 460 participants, each of whom had stable schizophrenia for at least two years and predominant negative symptoms for at least six months. Half of the patients were treated with Risperdal, and the other half with Vraylar. Researcher relied on Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale factor scores to assess change in negative symptoms.
Researchers found that patients given Vraylar had a greater improvement in negative symptoms as well as a greater improvement in functioning. “Given the considerable unmet medical need in this therapeutic area, it is important to consider that any amount of change could be clinically relevant to patients without other treatment options,” the scientists theorized.
Antipsychotic side effects can lead to a decrease in adherence. Participants in the study reported insomnia, akathisia, headache, anxiety, and worsening schizophrenia symptoms. Risperdal side effects also include gynecomatia, a condition in which adolescent boys develop female-like breasts, a condition known as gynecomastia.
Source: Psychiatry Advisor