Efficacy and safety of asenapine in Asian patients with an acute exacerbation of schizophrenia: a multicentre, randomized, double-blind, 6-week, placebo-controlled study

Toshihiko Kinoshita, Ya-Mei Bai, Jong-Hoon Kim, Mutsuo Miyake, Nobuyuki Oshima
Psychopharmacology 2016, 233 (14): 2663-74

RATIONALE: Asenapine is a second generation anti-psychotic approved in the USA in 2009 for the treatment of schizophrenia, but its efficacy has not been proven in Asian patients.

OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study are to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of asenapine in Asian patients experiencing an acute exacerbation of schizophrenia.

METHODS: In this prospective, double-blind study, patients in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan were randomized (1:1:1) to asenapine 5 mg twice daily (bid), 10 mg bid or placebo for 6 weeks after a 3- to 7-day washout/screening period. The primary endpoint was the mean change in the positive and negative syndrome scale (PANSS) total score from baseline to day 42/treatment end.

RESULTS: Of the 532 participants randomized, 530 received treatment. The primary endpoint was significantly greater with asenapine 5 and 10 mg bid than with placebo (-12.24 and -14.17 vs. -0.95; p < 0.0001). The results of secondary endpoints including PANSS negative subscale scores and PANSS responders at the end of treatment supported the results of the primary endpoint. There were no significant differences in the incidence of treatment-emergent adverse events reported with asenapine 5 and 10 mg bid and placebo (84.6, 80.7, and 81.6 %). There was a mean (± standard deviation) change in weight of -1.76 ± 2.45 kg for placebo, +0.42 ± 2.65 kg for asenapine 5 mg bid, and +0.81 ± 2.89 kg for asenapine 10 mg bid group.

CONCLUSIONS: Asenapine was effective and generally well tolerated when used for the treatment of acute exacerbations of schizophrenia in Asian patients.

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