Augmentation of Clozapine with Aripiprazole in Severe Psychotic Bipolar and Schizoaffective Disorders: A Pilot Study

Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health 4 June 2010 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1745017901006010030



To evaluate the efficacy and safety of the augmentation of clozapine with aripiprazole in patients with treatment-resistant schizoaffective and psychotic bipolar disorders in a retrospective manner. Pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic interactions between the two drugs were also investigated.


Three men and 4 women (median age 36 and 40 years, respectively) who had mean scores at BPRS and CGI-Severity of 59.1±12.0 and 5.4±0.5, respectively, were treated with clozapine (mean dose 292.9±220.7 mg/day). Patients received an adjunctive treatment with aripiprazole (mean dose 6.8 ± 3.7 mg/day). Clozapine, norclozapine and aripiprazole plasma levels were measured by means of a high performance liquid chromatograpy with UV detection.


Total scores at BPRS decreased significantly (from 59.1±12.0 to 51.1±15.6, p=0.007) after aripirazole augmentation. In particular, the factors “thought disorder” (from 10.4±4.4 to 9.0±4.5, p=.047) and “anergia” (from 10.0±2.7 to 8.0±2.4, p=.018) significantly improved. Concomitant administration of aripiprazole and clozapine did not result in an increase in side effects over the period of treatment. Dose-normalized plasma levels of both clozapine and norclozapine and the clozapine/norclozapine metabolic ratio in all patients did not vary as well.


The augmentation of clozapine with aripirazole was safe and effective in severe psychotic schizoaffective and bipolar disorders which failed to respond to atypical antipsychotics. A possible pharmacokinetic interaction between clozapine and aripiprazole does not account for the improved clinical benefit obtained after aripiprazole augmentation.

Keywords: Psychotic bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, clozapine, aripiprazole, augmentation, pharmacokinetic interactions.
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