Friday, November 13, 2015

November 2015

FDA approved Aristada (aripiprazole lauroxil) extended release injection to treat adults with schizophrenia. 


US FDA

On October 5, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Aristada (aripiprazole lauroxil) extended release injection to treat adults with schizophrenia. Aristada is administered by a health care professional every four to six weeks using an injection in the arm or buttocks.
Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe and disabling brain disorder affecting about one percent of Americans. Typically, symptoms are first seen in adults younger than 30 years of age and include hearing voices, believing other people are reading their minds or controlling their thoughts, and being suspicious or withdrawn.

“Long-acting medications to treat schizophrenia can improve the lives of patients,” said Mitchell Mathis, M.D., director of the Division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Having a variety of treatment options and dosage forms available for patients with mental illness is important so that a treatment plan can be tailored to meet the patient’s needs.”

The efficacy of Aristada was demonstrated in part by a 12-week clinical trial in 622 participants. In participants with acute schizophrenia who had been stabilized with oral aripiprazole, Aristada was found to maintain the treatment effect compared to a placebo.   

Aristada and other atypical antipsychotic drugs used to treat schizophrenia have a Boxed Warning alerting health care professionals about an increased risk of death associated with the off-label use of these drugs to treat behavioral problems in older people with dementia-related psychosis. No drug in this class is approved to treat patients with dementia-related psychosis. Aristada must be dispensed with a patient Medication Guide that describes important information about the drug’s uses and risks. 

The most common side effect reported by participants receiving Aristada in clinical trials was feeling the urge to move constantly (akathisia).




Microglial Activity in People at Ultra High Risk of Psychosis and in Schizophrenia: An [11C]PBR28 PET Brain Imaging Study


The American Journal of Psychiatry 

Abstract

Objective:
The purpose of this study was to determine whether microglial activity, measured using translocator-protein positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, is increased in unmedicated persons presenting with subclinical symptoms indicating that they are at ultra high risk of psychosis and to determine whether microglial activity is elevated in schizophrenia after controlling for a translocator-specific genetic polymorphism.

Method:
The authors used the second-generation radioligand [11C]PBR28 and PET to image microglial activity in the brains of participants at ultra high risk for psychosis. Participants were recruited from early intervention centers. The authors also imaged a cohort of patients with schizophrenia and matched healthy subjects for comparison. In total, 56 individuals completed the study. At screening, participants were genotyped to account for the rs6971 polymorphism in the gene encoding the 18Kd translocator protein. The main outcome measure was total gray matter [11C]PBR28 binding ratio, representing microglial activity.

Results:
[11C]PBR28 binding ratio in gray matter was elevated in ultra-high-risk participants compared with matched comparison subjects (Cohen’s d >1.2) and was positively correlated with symptom severity (r=0.730). Patients with schizophrenia also demonstrated elevated microglial activity relative to matched comparison subjects (Cohen’s d >1.7).

Conclusions:
Microglial activity is elevated in patients with schizophrenia and in persons with subclinical symptoms who are at ultra high risk of psychosis and is related to at-risk symptom severity. These findings suggest that neuroinflammation is linked to the risk of psychosis and related disorders, as well as the expression of subclinical symptoms.




Suicide and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy


The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience

Abstract 

For nearly 80 years, suicidality was not considered to be a core clinical feature of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). In recent years, suicide has been widely cited as being associated with CTE, and now depression has been proposed to be one of three core diagnostic features alongside cognitive impairment and anger control problems. This evolution of the clinical features has been reinforced by thousands of media stories reporting a connection between mental health problems in former athletes and military veterans, repetitive neurotrauma, and CTE. At present, the science underlying the causal assumption between repetitive neurotrauma, depression, suicide, and the neuropathology believed to be unique to CTE is inconclusive. Epidemiological evidence indicates that former National Football League players, for example, are at lower, not greater, risk for suicide than men in the general population. This article aims to discuss the critical issues and literature relating to these possible relationships.



Long-term Risk of Dementia in Persons With Schizophrenia


JAMA Psychiatry

Abstract

Importance  
Although schizophrenia is associated with several age-related disorders and considerable cognitive impairment, it remains unclear whether the risk of dementia is higher among persons with schizophrenia compared with those without schizophrenia.

Objective  
To determine the risk of dementia among persons with schizophrenia compared with those without schizophrenia in a large nationwide cohort study with up to 18 years of follow-up, taking age and established risk factors for dementia into account.

Design, Setting, and Participants  
This population-based cohort study of more than 2.8 million persons aged 50 years or older used individual data from 6 nationwide registers in Denmark. A total of 20 683 individuals had schizophrenia. Follow-up started on January 1, 1995, and ended on January 1, 2013. Analysis was conducted from January 1, 2015, to April 30, 2015.

Main Outcomes and Measures  
Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) and cumulative incidence proportions (CIPs) of dementia for persons with schizophrenia compared with persons without schizophrenia.

Results  
During 18 years of follow-up, 136 012 individuals, including 944 individuals with a history of schizophrenia, developed dementia. Schizophrenia was associated with a more than 2-fold higher risk of all-cause dementia (IRR, 2.13; 95% CI, 2.00-2.27) after adjusting for age, sex, and calendar period. The estimates (reported as IRR; 95% CI) did not change substantially when adjusting for medical comorbidities, such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes mellitus (2.01; 1.89-2.15) but decreased slightly when adjusting for substance abuse (1.71; 1.60-1.82). The association between schizophrenia and dementia risk was stable when evaluated in subgroups characterized by demographics and comorbidities, although the IRR was higher among individuals younger than 65 years (3.77; 3.29-4.33), men (2.38; 2.13-2.66), individuals living with a partner (3.16; 2.71-3.69), those without cerebrovascular disease (2.23; 2.08-2.39), and those without substance abuse (1.96; 1.82-2.11). The CIPs (95% CIs) of developing dementia by the age of 65 years were 1.8% (1.5%-2.2%) for persons with schizophrenia and 0.6% (0.6%-0.7%) for persons without schizophrenia. The respective CIPs for persons with and without schizophrenia were 7.4% (6.8%-8.1%) and 5.8% (5.8%-5.9%) by the age of 80 years.

Conclusions and Relevance  
Individuals with schizophrenia, especially those younger than 65 years, had a markedly increased relative risk of dementia that could not be explained by established dementia risk factors.



Integration of DNA sequence and DNA methylation changes in monozygotic twin pairs discordant for schizophrenia


Schizophrenia Research

Schizophrenia is a complex mental disorder with high heritability (80%), extensive genetic heterogeneity, environmental contributions and only 50% concordance in discordant monozygotic (MZ) twins. Discordant MZ twins provide an exceptional opportunity to assess patient specific genome-wide genetic and epigenetic changes that may account for the disease phenotype. A combined analysis of genetic and epigenetic changes on the same twin pairs is expected to provide a more effective approach for two reasons. First, it is now possible to generate relatively reliable complete genome sequences as well as promoter methylation states on an individual level and second, the unaffected twin that originated from the same zygote provides a near perfect genetic match for contrast and comparison. This report deals with the combined analysis of DNA sequence data and methylation data on two pairs of discordant MZ twins that have been clinically followed for over 20 years. Results on Family 1 show that 58 genes differ in DNA sequence as well as promoter methylation in a schizophrenia-affected twin as compared to her healthy co-twin. The corresponding number for family 2 was 13. The two lists are over represented by neuronal genes and include a number of known schizophrenia candidate genes and drug targets. The results argue that changes in multiple genes via co-localized genetic and epigenetic alteration contribute to a liability threshold that is necessary for development of schizophrenia. This novel hypothesis, although logical, remains to be validated.



Efficacy, safety, and tolerability of augmentation pharmacotherapy with aripiprazole for treatment-resistant depression in late life: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial


The Lancet

Summary

Background
Treatment-resistant major depression is common and potentially life-threatening in elderly people, in whom little is known about the benefits and risks of augmentation pharmacotherapy. We aimed to assess whether aripiprazole is associated with a higher probability of remission than is placebo.

Methods
We did a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial at three centres in the USA and Canada to test the efficacy and safety of aripiprazole augmentation for adults aged older than 60 years with treatment-resistant depression (Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale [MADRS] score of ≥15). Patients who did not achieve remission during a pre-trial with venlafaxine extended-release (150–300 mg/day) were randomly assigned (1:1) to the addition of aripiprazole (target dose 10 mg [maximum 15 mg] daily) daily or placebo for 12 weeks. The computer-generated randomisation was done in blocks and stratified by site. Only the database administrator and research pharmacists had knowledge of treatment assignment. The primary endpoint was remission, defined as an MADRS score of 10 or less (and at least 2 points below the score at the start of the randomised phase) at both of the final two consecutive visits, analysed by intention to treat. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00892047.

Findings
From July 20, 2009, to Dec 30, 2013, we recruited 468 eligible participants, 181 (39%) of whom did not remit and were randomly assigned to aripiprazole (n=91) or placebo (n=90). A greater proportion of participants in the aripiprazole group achieved remission than did those in the placebo group (40 [44%] vs 26 [29%] participants; odds ratio [OR] 2·0 [95% CI 1·1–3·7], p=0·03; number needed to treat [NNT] 6·6 [95% CI 3·5–81·8]). Akathisia was the most common adverse effect of aripiprazole (reported in 24 [26%] of 91 participants on aripiprazole vs one [1%] of 90 on placebo). Compared with placebo, aripiprazole was also associated with more Parkinsonism (15 [17%] of 86 vs two [2%] of 81 participants), but not with treatment-emergent suicidal ideation (13 [21%] of 61 vs 19 [29%] of 65 participants) or other measured safety variables.

Interpretation
In adults aged 60 years or older who do not achieve remission from depression with a first-line antidepressant, the addition of aripiprazole is effective in achieving and sustaining remission. Tolerability concerns include the potential for akathisia and Parkinsonism.



Self-blame–Selective Hyperconnectivity Between Anterior Temporal and Subgenual Cortices and Prediction of Recurrent Depressive Episodes


JAMA Psychiatry

Abstract

Importance  
Patients with remitted major depressive disorder (MDD) were previously found to display abnormal functional magnetic resonance imaging connectivity (fMRI) between the right superior anterior temporal lobe (RSATL) and the subgenual cingulate cortex and adjacent septal region (SCSR) when experiencing self-blaming emotions relative to emotions related to blaming others (eg, “indignation or anger toward others”). This finding provided the first neural signature of biases toward overgeneralized self-blaming emotions (eg, “feeling guilty for everything”), known to have a key role in cognitive vulnerability to MDD. It is unknown whether this neural signature predicts risk of recurrence, a crucial step in establishing its potential as a prognostic biomarker, which is urgently needed for stratification into pathophysiologically more homogeneous subgroups and for novel treatments.

Objective  
To use fMRI in remitted MDD at baseline to test the hypothesis that RSATL-SCSR connectivity for self-blaming relative to other-blaming emotions predicts subsequent recurrence of depressive episodes.

Design, Setting, and Participants  
A prospective cohort study from June 16, 2011, to October 10, 2014, in a clinical research facility completed by 75 psychotropic medication–free patients with remitted MDD and no relevant comorbidity. In total, 31 remained in stable remission, and 25 developed a recurring episode over the 14 months of clinical follow-up and were included in the primary analysis. Thirty-nine control participants with no personal or family history of MDD were recruited for further comparison.

Main Outcomes and Measures  
Between-group difference (recurring vs stable MDD) in RSATL connectivity, with an a priori SCSR region of interest for self-blaming vs other-blaming emotions.

Results  
We corroborated our hypothesis that during the experience of self-blaming vs other-blaming emotions, RSATL-SCSR connectivity predicted risk of subsequent recurrence. The recurring MDD group showed higher connectivity than the stable MDD group (familywise error–corrected P < .05 over the a priori SCSR region of interest) and the control group. In addition, the recurring MDD group also exhibited RSATL hyperconnectivity with the right ventral putamen and claustrum and the temporoparietal junction. Together, these regions predicted recurrence with 75% accuracy.

Conclusions and Relevance  
To our knowledge, this study is the first to provide a robust demonstration of an fMRI signature of recurrence risk in remitted MDD. Additional studies are needed for its further optimization and validation as a prognostic biomarker.



Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatment of mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's disease


Journal of Neurology & Psychiatry

Abstract

Objective 
To determine the effect of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) on brain atrophy and cognitive function in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Methods 
50 participant 50–84 years of age with amnestic MCI were administered 0.4 g/kg 10% IVIG or 0.9% saline every 2 weeks for a total of 5 infusions (2 g/kg total dose) in a randomised double-blinded design. MRI brain was completed at baseline, 12  and 24 months. Cognitive testing was completed at baseline and every 4 months. Participants were stratified into early and late (LMCI) MCI stages. Average annualised per cent change in ventricular volume was computed as a measure of brain atrophy.

Results 
There was significantly less brain atrophy (p=0.037, adjusted for MCI status) in the IVIG group (5.87%) when compared with placebo (8.14%) at 12 months; at 24 months, the reduction in brain atrophy no longer reached statistical significance. The LMCI participants who received IVIG performed better on Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale (ADAS-Cog; p=0.011) and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE; p=0.004) at 1 year; these differences were not present after 2 years. There was no difference in conversion to AD dementia between the treatment and control groups after 2 years; however, at 1 year, there were fewer conversions from LMCI to AD dementia in the IVIG group (33.3%) when compared with control group (58.3%).

Conclusions 
This exploratory study provides limited evidence that a short course of IVIG administered in the MCI stage of AD reduces brain atrophy, prevents cognitive decline in LMCI and delays conversion to AD dementia for at least 1 year; however, this effect of IVIG appears to wane by 2 years.




Association Between Placebo-Activated Neural Systems and Antidepressant Responses: Neurochemistry of Placebo Effects in Major Depression

JAMA Psychiatry

Abstract

Importance  
High placebo responses have been observed across a wide range of pathologies, severely impacting drug development.

Objective  
To examine neurochemical mechanisms underlying the formation of placebo effects in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD).

Design, Setting, and Participants  
In this study involving 2 placebo lead-in phases followed by an open antidepressant administration, we performed a single-blinded 2-week crossover randomized clinical trial of 2 identical oral placebos (described as having either active or inactive fast-acting antidepressant-like effects) followed by a 10-week open-label treatment with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or, in some cases, another agent as clinically indicated. The volunteers (35 medication-free patients with MDD at a university health system) were studied with positron emission tomography and the µ-opioid receptor–selective radiotracer [11C]carfentanil after each 1-week inactive and active oral placebo treatment. In addition, 1 mL of isotonic saline was administered intravenously within sight of the volunteer during positron emission tomographic scanning every 4 minutes over 20 minutes only after the 1-week active placebo treatment, with instructions that the compound may be associated with the activation of brain systems involved in mood improvement. This challenge stimulus was used to test the individual capacity to acutely activate endogenous opioid neurotransmision under expectations of antidepressant effect.

Main Outcomes and Measures  
Changes in depressive symptoms in response to active placebo and antidepressant. Baseline and activation measures of µ-opioid receptor binding.

Results  
Higher baseline µ-opioid receptor binding in the nucleus accumbens was associated with better response to antidepressant treatment (r = 0.48; P = .02). Reductions in depressive symptoms after 1 week of active placebo treatment, compared with the inactive, were associated with increased placebo-induced µ-opioid neurotransmission in a network of regions implicated in emotion, stress regulation, and the pathophysiology of MDD, namely, the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex, nucleus accumbens, midline thalamus, and amygdala (nucleus accumbens: r = 0.6; P < .001). Placebo-induced endogenous opioid release in these regions was associated with better antidepressant treatment response, predicting 43% of the variance in symptom improvement at the end of the antidepressant trial.

Conclusions and Relevance  
These data demonstrate that placebo-induced activation of the µ-opioid system is implicated in the formation of placebo antidepressant effects in patients with MDD and also participate in antidepressant responses, conferring illness resiliency, during open administration.

Source: http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/


Reproductive Safety of Second-Generation Antipsychotics


The American Journal of Psychiatry

Abstract

Objective:
Second-generation antipsychotics are used to treat a spectrum of psychiatric illnesses in reproductive-age women. The National Pregnancy Registry for Atypical Antipsychotics was established to determine the risk of major malformations among infants exposed to second-generation antipsychotics during pregnancy relative to a comparison group of unexposed infants of mothers with histories of psychiatric morbidity.

Method:
Women were prospectively followed during pregnancy and the postpartum period; obstetric, labor, delivery, and pediatric medical records were obtained. Eligible enrollees were pregnant women ages 18–45. The Registry is based at the Center for Women’s Mental Health at Massachusetts General Hospital. Women were recruited through provider referral, self-referral, and the Center’s web site.

Results:
As of December 2014, 487 women were enrolled: 353 who used second-generation antipsychotics and 134 comparison women. Medical records were obtained for 82% of participants. A total of 303 women had completed the study and were eligible for inclusion in the analysis. Of 214 live births with first-trimester exposure to second-generation antipsychotics, three major malformations were confirmed. In the control group (N=89), one major malformation was confirmed. The absolute risk of major malformations was 1.4% for exposed infants and 1.1% for unexposed infants. The odds ratio for major malformations comparing exposed infants with unexposed infants was 1.25 (95% CI=0.13–12.19).

Conclusions:
The results suggest that it would be unlikely for second-generation antipsychotics to raise the risk of major malformations more than 10-fold beyond that observed in the general population or among control groups using other psychotropic medications. If the estimate stabilizes around the null with ongoing data collection, findings may be reassuring for both clinicians and women trying to make risk-benefit treatment decisions about using atypical antipsychotics during pregnancy. These findings are timely given the renewed focus of regulatory agencies on reproductive safety.



Online Journals:




Biological Psychiatry - Volume 78, Issue 11, December 2015



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