Patients with schizophrenia suffer high rates of metabolic derangements on some antipsychotic medications that predispose them to cardiovascular diseases. Keeping this fact in mind, we planned this open-label study to see the effect on various metabolic parameters after switching stable schizophrenia subjects, who had developed metabolic syndrome on olanzapine, to aripiprazole.
Sixty-two patients with schizophrenia who were stable on olanzapine and were fulfilling modified National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP-III) criteria for the presence of metabolic syndrome were enrolled on the study. Patients were randomly assigned either to switch to aripiprazole or to stay on olanzapine, on a 1:1 basis. Cross-tapering over a period of 1 month was done while switching patients to aripiprazole. Laboratory assessment for metabolic parameters was done at baseline, 8 weeks, and 24 weeks after enrollment; efficacy assessment was done using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) at baseline and 24 weeks, the Clinical Global Impressions severity subscale (CGI-S) at baseline, and the Clinical Global Impressions improvement subscale (CGI-I) at 24 weeks.
All parameters of metabolic syndrome (waist circumference, blood pressure, triglyceride level, fasting blood glucose, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) kept deteriorating in the stay group, compared with a continuous improvement in the switch group over time. At the end of the study, 26 patients (100%) from the stay group and 15 patients (42.8%) from switch group met the modified NCEP ATP-III criteria for presence of metabolic syndrome ( P<0.001). There were no statistically significant differences between groups in psychopathology changes as measured by the PANSS total score and CGI-I scores.