Aripiprazole is a psychotropic drug that is available as aripiprazole tablets USP. Aripiprazole is 7-[4-[4-(2,3-dichlorophenyl)-1-‑piperazinyl]butoxy]-3,4-dihydrocarbostyril. The molecular formula is C23 H27 Cl2 N3 O2 and its molecular weight is 448.38. The chemical structure is:
Aripiprazole tablets are available in 2 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg strengths. Inactive ingredients include colloidal silicon dioxide, corn starch, hydroxypropyl cellulose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, and microcrystalline cellulose. In addition the 2 mg strength contains FD&C Blue No. 2 and ferric oxide (sicovit yellow 10) and 5 mg contains FD&C Blue No. 2.
The mechanism of action of aripiprazole in schizophrenia is unclear. However, the efficacy of aripiprazole in the listed indications could be mediated through a combination of partial agonist activity at D2 and 5-HT1A receptors and antagonist activity at 5-HT2A receptors.
Aripiprazole exhibits high affinity for dopamine D2 and D3 , serotonin 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptors (Ki values of 0.34 nM, 0.8 nM, 1.7 nM, and 3.4 nM, respectively), moderate affinity for dopamine D4 , serotonin 5-HT2C and 5-HT7 , alpha1 -adrenergic and histamine H1 receptors (Ki values of 44 nM, 15 nM, 39 nM, 57 nM, and 61 nM, respectively), and moderate affinity for the serotonin reuptake site (Ki =98 nM). Aripiprazole has no appreciable affinity for cholinergic muscarinic receptors (IC50 >1000 nM).
Aripiprazole activity is presumably primarily due to the parent drug, aripiprazole, and to a lesser extent, to its major metabolite, dehydro-aripiprazole, which has been shown to have affinities for D2 receptors similar to the parent drug and represents 40% of the parent drug exposure in plasma. The mean elimination half-lives are about 75 hours and 94 hours for aripiprazole and dehydro-aripiprazole, respectively. Steady-state concentrations are attained within 14 days of dosing for both active moieties. Aripiprazole accumulation is predictable from single-dose pharmacokinetics. At steady-state, the pharmacokinetics of aripiprazole is dose-proportional. Elimination of aripiprazole is mainly through hepatic metabolism involving two P450 isozymes, CYP2D6 and CYP3A4. For CYP2D6 poor metabolizers, the mean elimination half-life for aripiprazole is about 146 hours.
Tablets: Aripiprazole is well absorbed after administration of the tablet, with peak plasma concentrations occurring within 3 hours to 5 hours; the absolute oral bioavailability of the tablet formulation is 87%. Aripiprazole tablets can be administered with or without food. Administration of a 15 mg aripiprazole tablet with a standard high-fat meal did not significantly affect the Cmax or AUC of aripiprazole or its active metabolite, dehydro‑-aripiprazole, but delayed Tmax by 3 hours for aripiprazole and 12 hours for dehydro-‑aripiprazole.
Oral Solution: Aripiprazole is well absorbed when administered orally as the solution. At equivalent doses, the plasma concentrations of aripiprazole from the solution were higher than that from the tablet formulation. In a relative bioavailability study comparing the pharmacokinetics of 30 mg aripiprazole as the oral solution to 30 mg aripiprazole tablets in healthy subjects, the solution to tablet ratios of geometric mean Cmax and AUC values were 122% and 114%, respectively [see Dosage and Administration (2.8)]. The single-dose pharmacokinetics of aripiprazole were linear and dose-proportional between the doses of 5 mg to 30 mg.
The steady-state volume of distribution of aripiprazole following intravenous administration is high (404 L or 4.9 L/kg), indicating extensive extravascular distribution. At therapeutic concentrations, aripiprazole and its major metabolite are greater than 99% bound to serum proteins, primarily to albumin. In healthy human volunteers administered 0.5 to 30 mg/day aripiprazole for 14 days, there was dose-dependent D2 receptor occupancy indicating brain penetration of aripiprazole in humans.
Metabolism and Elimination
Aripiprazole is metabolized primarily by three biotransformation pathways: dehydrogenation, hydroxylation, and N-dealkylation. Based on in vitro studies, CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 enzymes are responsible for dehydrogenation and hydroxylation of aripiprazole, and N-dealkylation is catalyzed by CYP3A4. Aripiprazole is the predominant drug moiety in the systemic circulation. At steady-state, dehydro-‑aripiprazole, the active metabolite, represents about 40% of aripiprazole AUC in plasma.
Following a single oral dose of [14 C]-labeled aripiprazole, approximately 25% and 55% of the administered radioactivity was recovered in the urine and feces, respectively. Less than 1% of unchanged aripiprazole was excreted in the urine and approximately 18% of the oral dose was recovered unchanged in the feces.
Drug Interaction Studies
Effects of other drugs on the exposures of aripiprazole and dehydro-aripiprazole are summarized in Figure 1 and Figure 2, respectively. Based on simulation, a 4.5-fold increase in mean Cmax and AUC values at steady-state is expected when extensive metabolizers of CYP2D6 are administered with both strong CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 inhibitors. A 3-fold increase in mean Cmax and AUC values at steady-state is expected in poor metabolizers of CYP2D6 administered with strong CYP3A4 inhibitors.
The effects of aripiprazole on the exposures of other drugs are summarized in Figure 3.
Figure 3: The effects of aripiprazole on pharmacokinetics of other drugs
Studies in Specific Populations
Exposures of aripiprazole and dehydro-aripiprazole in specific populations are summarized in Figure 4 and Figure 5, respectively. In addition, in pediatric patients (10 to 17 years of age) administered with aripiprazole (20 mg to 30 mg), the body weight corrected aripiprazole clearance was similar to the adults.
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