Discover the Contraindications and side effects of Cariprazine.
This drug is widely used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia.
A drug is treated in patients with psychotic disorders and sometimes bipolar disorder.
Psychotic disorders, with schizophrenia as the main and most recognized representative, are one of the types of mental disorder that generates the greatest amount of suffering and functional alteration in the lives of the people who suffer from it.
Finding a treatment that allows alleviating symptoms and maintaining stability in these subjects has been the objective of a large amount of research from different disciplines.
Pharmacology is one of them, having synthesized different substances that temporarily diminish or eliminate psychotic symptoms. We are talking about antipsychotics. One of them, approved in 2015, is cariprazine.
Cariprazine as an antipsychotic
Cariprazine is a substance made and approved by the FDA in 2015, classified as an atypical antipsychotic.
It is a highly effective substance made to suppress or reduce psychotic symptoms, both at the level of symptoms that increase activity or add elements to the patient’s usual functionality (called positive symptoms), such as hallucinations, delusions, restlessness, or destructuring of thought.
However, this drug appears to be more effective than other drugs such as risperidone in treating negative symptoms.
Thus, it has a greater effect on those symptoms that reduce the level of activation of the patient, such as analogy or poverty of thought or abulia and anhedonia or inability to motivate oneself or feel pleasure.
Cariprazine is considered an atypical or second-generation antipsychotics. As such, it affects brain neurochemistry, altering the dopaminergic and serotonergic systems.
Unlike most antipsychotics, which block brain dopamine, cariprazine is considered a partial agonist of this neurotransmitter (that is, they generate an effect similar to that of endogenous dopamine), something that has been associated with improvement in the negative symptoms generated by the deficit of this hormone at the mesocortical level.
Likewise, at the level of serotonin, we find that it exerts different roles depending on the receptor in question.
It acts as a partial agonist of the 5-HT1a receptor, which influences the reduction of dopamine synthesis in some brain areas, while it acts as an antagonist of the 5-HT2a and 5-HT2b receptors (which on the other hand generates an increase in dopamine levels in the mesocortical pathway).
It also affects, although in a much lesser way, the noradrenergic and histaminergic systems, something that can influence when generating side effects.
The main indication for cariprazine is schizophrenia, which seems to have a high level of effectiveness in treating both positive and negative symptoms.
Its use is also common in other psychotic disorders, especially in those with delusions, agitation, and hallucinations.
It has also been indicated for some cases of bipolar disorder. Specifically, its use has been approved in the presence of acute manic or mixed episodes, helping to reduce the current level of hyperarousal and excessively expansive mood.
Although it does not yet have this action, the possible application of this drug in cases of depression (both unipolar and in the depressive episodes of bipolar disorder) or even in autism, similar to what happens with aripiprazole and risperidone.
Side effects and contraindications
Although highly effective in the treatment of different conditions and mental disorders, cariprazine is a substance that can also generate different side effects and even be contraindicated (or require extreme regulation) for some specific types of populations.
About side effects, it is common for it to generate drowsiness and weight gain, being the most frequent and well-known symptoms. However, it can also cause agitation, dizziness, problems urinating or defecating, stomach problems such as indigestion, hypersalivation, or blurred vision.
In addition to this, other more serious problems that may require medical attention are the possible experience of seizures, muscle weakness, dark urine color (due to urination problems), loss of facial expressiveness, falls, hyperthermia, or altered consciousness, tachycardias, hyperglycemia, and hypotension.
Some motor symptoms such as tremors and involuntary movements (such as those of dyskinesia) are also possible.
As with the rest of antipsychotics or neuroleptics, care must also be taken with the possible appearance of the neuroleptic malignant syndrome, with fatal potential.
As for contraindications, as with many other antipsychotics, people who receive other pharmacological treatments, especially in the case of antidepressants, should take special precautions with this drug, since there are a large number of medicinal substances that can interact with cariprazine.
Diabetic people should be especially careful since it is common for this drug to generate elevations in blood sugar that leads to hyperglycemia.
It should also be avoided by patients with cardiovascular disorders, who have suffered some type of stroke or who have dementia (in this case multiplying the risk of mortality).
Its consumption should also be avoided during pregnancy, requiring a consultation with the doctor to assess alternatives, since it can be a risk for the appearance of malformations or alterations in the fetus