Aims: Aripiprazole is an atypical antipsychotic indicated for the treatment of adult patients with schizophrenia. It is effective and well tolerated in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. The aim of the present study was to investigate therapeutic efficacy and tolerability of aripiprazole in patients with first-episode schizophrenia.
Methods: Twenty-one patients meeting the DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia were recruited. The Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (PANSS) and the Clinical Global Impressions Scale (CGI) were completed at the beginning of the study and again after 1, 2, 4, and 8 weeks of aripiprazole treatment. Side-effects were analyzed using the Udvalg for Kliniske Undersøgelser Side-Effect Rating Scale. Weight was checked at each testing session, and prolactin levels were measured at baseline and after 8 weeks of aripiprazole treatment.
Results: Significant benefits were observed after the first week of treatment. After 1 week of aripiprazole treatment, subscale and total scores on the PANSS had decreased significantly. This significant decrease was maintained throughout the study period. The mean score of CGI severity was also significantly different after 2 weeks of aripiprazole administration when compared to baseline score, and the significance was maintained thereafter. Weight did not significantly change after aripiprazole administration. Although mean prolactin level was decreased at 8 weeks, the difference was not significant.
Conclusions: Aripiprazole is an effective and well-tolerated antipsychotic agent in patients with first-episode schizophrenia. Further investigations with larger samples are needed.