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Keywords:

  • aripiprazole;
  • bipolar disorder;
  • pediatric;
  • treatment

Objective:  To evaluate the long-term efficacy, safety, and tolerability of aripiprazole in pediatric subjects with bipolar I disorder.

Methods:  A randomized, double-blind, 30-week, placebo-controlled study of aripiprazole (10 or 30 mg/day) in youths (10–17 years) with bipolar I disorder (manic or mixed) ± psychotic features (n = 296) was performed. After four weeks, acute treatment completers continued receiving ≤26 weeks of double-blind treatment (n = 210). The primary outcome was Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) total score change.

Results:  Of the 210 subjects who entered the 26-week extension phase, 32.4% completed the study (45.3% for aripiprazole 10 mg/day, 31.0% for aripiprazole 30 mg/day, and 18.8% for placebo). Both aripiprazole doses demonstrated significantly (p < 0.001) greater improvements in YMRS total score at endpoint compared with placebo in protocol-specified last observation carried forward analyses, but not in observed case or mixed-model repeated measures at week 30. Overall time to all-cause discontinuation was longer for aripiprazole 10 mg/day (15.6 weeks) and aripiprazole 30 mg/day (9.5 weeks) compared with placebo (5.3 weeks; both p < 0.05 versus placebo). Both aripiprazole doses were significantly superior to placebo regarding response rates, Children’s Global Assessment of Functioning and Clinical Global Impressions-Bipolar severity of overall and mania scores at endpoint in all analyses. Commonly reported adverse events included headache, somnolence, and extrapyramidal disorder.

Conclusions:  Aripiprazole 10 mg/day and 30 mg/day were superior to placebo and generally well tolerated in pediatric subjects with bipolar I disorder up to 30 weeks. Despite the benefits of treatment, completion rates were low in all treatment arms.