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Asenapine for bipolar disorder

Authors Scheidemantel T, Korobkova I, Rej S, Sajatovic M

Received 1 September 2015

Accepted for publication 9 November 2015

Published 4 December 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 3007—3017

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S78043

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Xiang Mou

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Thomas Scheidemantel,1 Irina Korobkova,2 Soham Rej,3,4 Martha Sajatovic1,2

1University Hospitals Case Medical Center, 2Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH, USA; 3Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, 4Geri PARTy Research Group, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, QC, Canada

Abstract: Asenapine (Saphris®) is an atypical antipsychotic drug which has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults, as well as the treatment of acute manic or mixed episodes of bipolar I in both adult and pediatric populations. Asenapine is a tetracyclic drug with antidopaminergic and antiserotonergic activity with a unique sublingual route of administration. In this review, we examine and summarize the available literature on the safety, efficacy, and tolerability of asenapine in the treatment of bipolar disorder (BD). Data from randomized, double-blind trials comparing asenapine to placebo or olanzapine in the treatment of acute manic or mixed episodes showed asenapine to be an effective monotherapy treatment in clinical settings; asenapine outperformed placebo and showed noninferior performance to olanzapine based on improvement in the Young Mania Rating Scale scores. There are limited data available on the use of asenapine in the treatment of depressive symptoms of BD, or in the maintenance phase of BD. The available data are inconclusive, suggesting the need for more robust data from prospective trials in these clinical domains. The most commonly reported adverse effect associated with use of asenapine is somnolence. However, the somnolence associated with asenapine use did not cause significant rates of discontinuation. While asenapine was associated with weight gain when compared to placebo, it appeared to be modest when compared to other atypical antipsychotics, and its propensity to cause increases in hemoglobin A1c or serum lipid levels appeared to be similarly modest. Asenapine does not appear to cause any clinically significant QTc prolongation. The most commonly reported extra-pyramidal symptom associated with asenapine was akathisia. Overall, asenapine appears to be a relatively well-tolerated atypical antipsychotic, effective in the treatment of acute manic and mixed episodes of BD.

Keywords: asenapine, bipolar, manic episode, mixed episode, depressive features, safety, tolerability

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