• aripiprazole;
  • efficacy;
  • long-term treatment;
  • safety;
  • schizophrenia

Aims:  To date there have been no reports of long-term efficacy of aripiprazole in Asian populations. The aim of the present study was therefore to investigate the long-term efficacy, safety and tolerability of aripiprazole in a large number of patients with schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, or schizoaffective disorder in Korea.

Methods:  This study was a prospective, multicenter, single-group, 26-week open study of patients with schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, or schizoaffective disorder. A total of 300 Korean patients participated in the study. The primary efficacy measure was the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total score, and secondary efficacy measures included the PANSS positive and negative subscales, Clinical Global Impression–Severity of Illness (CGI-S). Tolerability and safety were assessed by monitoring the frequency and severity of treatment-emergent adverse events, extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS), vital signs, weight, and laboratory tests.

Results:  Aripiprazole produced rapid and significant improvements on all efficacy measures. As evidenced by PANSS total score, PANSS positive subscales and the CGI-S scores, first-episode drug-naïve patients demonstrated significantly greater efficacy relative to patients who had previously experienced one or more episodes of relapse. Aripiprazole was associated with significant decrease of serum prolactin level. The subjects showed mild weight gain.

Conclusion:  Aripiprazole is an effective antipsychotic in the long-term treatment of both positive and negative symptoms. This study extends the findings of previous long-term studies, and has found that there is no significant difference with regard to ethnicity in response to aripiprazole.