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CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

Mechanism Of Action

The mechanism of action of ziprasidone, as with other drugs having efficacy in schizophrenia, is unknown. However, it has been proposed that this drug's efficacy in schizophrenia is mediated through a combination of dopamine type 2 (D2) and serotonin type 2 (5HT2) antagonism. As with other drugs having efficacy in bipolar disorder, the mechanism of action of ziprasidone in bipolar disorder is unknown.

Pharmacodynamics

Ziprasidone exhibited high in vitro binding affinity for the dopamine D2 and D3, the serotonin 5HT2A, 5HT2C, 5HT1A, 5HT1D, and α1-adrenergic receptors (Ki s of 4.8, 7.2, 0.4, 1.3, 3.4, 2, and 10 nM, respectively), and moderate affinity for the histamine H1 receptor (Ki=47 nM). Ziprasidone functioned as an antagonist at the D2, 5HT2A, and 5HT1D receptors, and as an agonist at the 5HT1A receptor. Ziprasidone inhibited synaptic reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. No appreciable affinity was exhibited for other receptor/binding sites tested, including the cholinergic muscarinic receptor (IC50 > 1 μM). Antagonism at receptors other than dopamine and 5HT2 with similar receptor affinities may explain some of the other therapeutic and side effects of ziprasidone. Ziprasidone's antagonism of histamine H1 receptors may explain the somnolence observed with this drug. Ziprasidone's antagonism of α1-adrenergic receptors may explain the orthostatic hypotension observed with this drug.

Pharmacokinetics

Oral Pharmacokinetics

Ziprasidone's activity is primarily due to the parent drug. The multiple-dose pharmacokinetics of ziprasidone are dose-proportional within the proposed clinical dose range, and ziprasidone accumulation is predictable with multiple dosing. Elimination of ziprasidone is mainly via hepatic metabolism with a mean terminal halflife of about 7 hours within the proposed clinical dose range. Steady-state concentrations are achieved within one to three days of dosing. The mean apparent systemic clearance is 7.5 mL/min/kg. Ziprasidone is unlikely to interfere with the metabolism of drugs metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzymes.

Absorption

Ziprasidone is well absorbed after oral administration, reaching peak plasma concentrations in 6 to 8 hours. The absolute bioavailability of a 20 mg dose under fed conditions is approximately 60%. The absorption of ziprasidone is increased up to two-fold in the presence of food.

Distribution

Ziprasidone has a mean apparent volume of distribution of 1.5 L/kg. It is greater than 99% bound to plasma proteins, binding primarily to albumin and α1-acid glycoprotein. The in vitro plasma protein binding of ziprasidone was not altered by warfarin or propranolol, two highly protein-bound drugs, nor did ziprasidone alter the binding of these drugs in human plasma. Thus, the potential for drug interactions with ziprasidone due to displacement is minimal.

Metabolism and Elimination

Ziprasidone is extensively metabolized after oral administration with only a small amount excreted in the urine ( < 1%) or feces ( < 4%) as unchanged drug. Ziprasidone is primarily cleared via three metabolic routes to yield four major circulating metabolites, benzisothiazole (BITP) sulphoxide, BITPsulphone, ziprasidone sulphoxide, and S-methyldihydroziprasidone. Approximately 20% of the dose is excreted in the urine, with approximately 66% being eliminated in the feces. Unchanged ziprasidone represents about 44% of total drug-related material in serum. In vitro studies using human liver subcellular fractions indicate that Smethyldihydroziprasidone is generated in two steps. These studies indicate that the reduction reaction is mediated primarily by chemical reduction by glutathione as well as by enzymatic reduction by aldehyde oxidase and the subsequent methylation is mediated by thiol methyltransferase. In vitro studies using human liver microsomes and recombinant enzymes indicate that CYP3A4 is the major CYP contributing to the oxidative metabolism of ziprasidone. CYP1A2 may contribute to a much lesser extent. Based on in vivo abundance of excretory metabolites, less than one-third of ziprasidone metabolic clearance is mediated by cytochrome P450 catalyzed oxidation and approximately two-thirds via reduction. There are no known clinically relevant inhibitors or inducers of aldehyde oxidase.

Intramuscular Pharmacokinetics

Systemic Bioavailability: The bioavailability of ziprasidone administered intramuscularly is 100%. After intramuscular administration of single doses, peak serum concentrations typically occur at approximately 60 minutes post-dose or earlier and the mean half-life (T½) ranges from two to five hours. Exposure increases in a doserelated manner and following three days of intramuscular dosing, little accumulation is observed.

Metabolism and Elimination: Although the metabolism and elimination of IM ziprasidone have not been systematically evaluated, the intramuscular route of administration would not be expected to alter the metabolic pathways.

Clinical Studies

Schizophrenia

The efficacy of oral ziprasidone in the treatment of schizophrenia was evaluated in 5 placebo-controlled studies, 4 short-term (4- and 6-week) trials and one maintenance trial. All trials were in adult inpatients, most of whom met DSM III-R criteria for schizophrenia. Each study included 2 to 3 fixed doses of ziprasidone as well as placebo. Four of the 5 trials were able to distinguish ziprasidone from placebo; one short-term study did not. Although a single fixed-dose haloperidol arm was included as a comparative treatment in one of the three short-term trials, this single study was inadequate to provide a reliable and valid comparison of ziprasidone and haloperidol.

Several instruments were used for assessing psychiatric signs and symptoms in these studies. The Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) and the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) are both multi-item inventories of general psychopathology usually used to evaluate the effects of drug treatment in schizophrenia. The BPRS psychosis cluster (conceptual disorganization, hallucinatory behavior, suspiciousness, and unusual thought content) is considered a particularly useful subset for assessing actively psychotic schizophrenic patients. A second widely used assessment, the Clinical Global Impression (CGI), reflects the impression of a skilled observer, fully familiar with the manifestations of schizophrenia, about the overall clinical state of the patient. In addition, the Scale for Assessing Negative Symptoms (SANS) was employed for assessing negative symptoms in one trial.

The results of the oral ziprasidone trials in schizophrenia follow:

  • In a 4-week, placebo-controlled trial (n=139) comparing 2 fixed doses of ziprasidone (20 and 60 mg twice daily) with placebo, only the 60 mg dose was superior to placebo on the BPRS total score and the CGI severity score. This higher dose group was not superior to placebo on the BPRS psychosis cluster or on the SANS.
  • In a 6-week, placebo-controlled trial (n=302) comparing 2 fixed doses of ziprasidone (40 and 80 mg twice daily) with placebo, both dose groups were superior to placebo on the BPRS total score, the BPRS psychosis cluster, the CGI severity score and the PANSS total and negative subscale scores. Although 80 mg twice daily had a numerically greater effect than 40 mg twice daily, the difference was not statistically significant.
  • In a 6-week, placebo-controlled trial (n=419) comparing 3 fixed doses of ziprasidone (20, 60, and 100 mg twice daily) with placebo, all three dose groups were superior to placebo on the PANSS total score, the BPRS total score, the BPRS psychosis cluster, and the CGI severity score. Only the 100 mg twice daily dose group was superior to placebo on the PANSS negative subscale score. There was no clear evidence for a dose-response relationship within the 20 mg twice daily to 100 mg twice daily dose range.
  • In a 4-week, placebo-controlled trial (n=200) comparing 3 fixed doses of ziprasidone (5, 20, and 40 mg twice daily), none of the dose groups was statistically superior to placebo on any outcome of interest.
  • A study was conducted in stable chronic or subchronic (CGI-S < 5 at baseline) schizophrenic inpatients (n=294) who had been hospitalized for not less than two months. After a 3-day single-blind placebo run-in, subjects were randomized to one of 3 fixed doses of ziprasidone (20 mg, 40 mg, or 80 mg twice daily) or placebo and observed for relapse. Patients were observed for “impending psychotic relapse,” defined as CGI-improvement score of ≥ 6 (much worse or very much worse) and/or scores ≥ 6 (moderately severe) on the hostility or uncooperativeness items of the PANSS on two consecutive days. Ziprasidone was significantly superior to placebo in time to relapse, with no significant difference between the different dose groups. There were insufficient data to examine population subsets based on age and race. Examination of population subsets based on gender did not reveal any differential responsiveness.

Bipolar I Disorder (Acute Mixed Or Manic Episodes And Maintenance Treatment As An Adjunct To Lithium Or Valproate)

Acute Manic and Mixed Episodes Associated with Bipolar I Disorder

The efficacy of ziprasidone was established in 2 placebo-controlled, double-blind, 3-week monotherapy studies in patients meeting DSM-IV criteria for bipolar I disorder, manic or mixed episode with or without psychotic features. Primary rating instruments used for assessing manic symptoms in these trials were: (1) the Mania Rating Scale (MRS), which is derived from the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia-Change Version (SADS-CB) with items grouped as the Manic Syndrome subscale (elevated mood, less need for sleep, excessive energy, excessive activity, grandiosity), the Behavior and Ideation subscale (irritability, motor hyperactivity, accelerated speech, racing thoughts, poor judgment) and impaired insight; and (2) the Clinical Global Impression-Severity of Illness Scale (CGI-S), which was used to assess the clinical significance of treatment response.

The results of the oral ziprasidone trials in adult bipolar I disorder, manic/mixed episode follow: in a 3-week placebo-controlled trial (n=210), the dose of ziprasidone was 40 mg twice daily on Day 1 and 80 mg twice daily on Day 2. Titration within the range of 40-80 mg twice daily (in 20 mg twice daily increments) was permitted for the duration of the study. Ziprasidone was significantly more effective than placebo in reduction of the MRS total score and the CGI-S score. The mean daily dose of ziprasidone in this study was 132 mg. In a second 3-week placebo-controlled trial (n=205), the dose of ziprasidone was 40 mg twice daily on Day 1. Titration within the range of 40-80 mg twice daily (in 20 mg twice daily increments) was permitted for the duration of study (beginning on Day 2). Ziprasidone was significantly more effective than placebo in reduction of the MRS total score and the CGI-S score. The mean daily dose of ziprasidone in this study was 112 mg.

Maintenance Therapy

The efficacy of ziprasidone as adjunctive therapy to lithium or valproate in the maintenance treatment of bipolar I disorder was established in a placebo-controlled trial in patients who met DSM-IV criteria for bipolar I disorder. The trial included patients whose most recent episode was manic or mixed, with or without psychotic features. In the open-label phase, patients were required to be stabilized on ziprasidone plus lithium or valproic acid for at least 8 weeks in order to be randomized. In the double-blind randomized phase, patients continued treatment with lithium or valproic acid and were randomized to receive either ziprasidone (administered twice daily totaling 80 mg to 160 mg per day) or placebo. Generally, in the maintenance phase, patients continued on the same dose on which they were stabilized during the stabilization phase. The primary endpoint in this study was time to recurrence of a mood episode (manic, mixed or depressed episode) requiring intervention, which was defined as any of the following: discontinuation due to a mood episode, clinical intervention for a mood episode (e.g., initiation of medication or hospitalization), or Mania Rating Scale score > 18 or a MADRS score > 18 (on 2 consecutive assessments no more than 10 days apart). A total of 584 subjects were treated in the openlabel stabilization period. In the double-blind randomization period, 127 subjects were treated with ziprasidone, and 112 subjects were treated with placebo. Ziprasidone was superior to placebo in increasing the time to recurrence of a mood episode. The types of relapse events observed included depressive, manic, and mixed episodes. Depressive, manic, and mixed episodes accounted for 53%, 34%, and 13%, respectively, of the total number of relapse events in the study.

Acute Treatment Of Agitation In Schizophrenia

The efficacy of intramuscular ziprasidone in the management of agitated schizophrenic patients was established in two short-term, double-blind trials of schizophrenic subjects who were considered by the investigators to be “acutely agitated” and in need of IM antipsychotic medication. In addition, patients were required to have a score of 3 or more on at least 3 of the following items of the PANSS: anxiety, tension, hostility and excitement. Efficacy was evaluated by analysis of the area under the curve (AUC) of the Behavioural Activity Rating Scale (BARS) and Clinical Global Impression (CGI) severity rating. The BARS is a seven point scale with scores ranging from 1 (difficult or unable to rouse) to 7 (violent, requires restraint). Patients' scores on the BARS at baseline were mostly 5 (signs of overt activity [physical or verbal], calms down with instructions) and as determined by investigators, exhibited a degree of agitation that warranted intramuscular therapy. There were few patients with a rating higher than 5 on the BARS, as the most severely agitated patients were generally unable to provide informed consent for participation in premarketing clinical trials.

Both studies compared higher doses of ziprasidone intramuscular with a 2 mg control dose. In one study, the higher dose was 20 mg, which could be given up to 4 times in the 24 hours of the study, at interdose intervals of no less than 4 hours. In the other study, the higher dose was 10 mg, which could be given up to 4 times in the 24 hours of the study, at interdose intervals of no less than 2 hours.

The results of the intramuscular ziprasidone trials follow:

  1. In a one-day, double-blind, randomized trial (n=79) involving doses of ziprasidone intramuscular of 20 mg or 2 mg, up to QID, ziprasidone intramuscular 20 mg was statistically superior to ziprasidone intramuscular 2 mg, as assessed by AUC of the BARS at 0 to 4 hours, and by CGI severity at 4 hours and study endpoint.
  2. In another one-day, double-blind, randomized trial (n=117) involving doses of ziprasidone intramuscular of 10 mg or 2 mg, up to QID, ziprasidone intramuscular 10 mg was statistically superior to ziprasidone intramuscular 2 mg, as assessed by AUC of the BARS at 0 to 2 hours, but not by CGI severity.

Last reviewed on RxList: 1/22/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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