The aim of this study was to review the safety and efficacy of aripiprazole as monotherapy and adjunct therapy for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A search of both MEDLINE (1956 to May 2017) and EMBASE (1957 to May 2017) was conducted using the terms “aripiprazole” and “post-traumatic stress disorder,” “posttraumatic stress disorder,” or “PTSD.” Studies evaluating the primary endpoint of PTSD in patients taking aripiprazole as monotherapy or adjunct therapy were analyzed for relevance. Those that met the objective of this study were included for evaluation: 1 placebo-controlled trial; 4 open-label trials; and 1 retrospective chart review.
In patients with a history of PTSD, aripiprazole resulted in significant improvements in the primary outcome, including Clinician-Administered PTSD Symptom Scale or PTSD Checklist—Military scores, in all but 1 study analyzed. Study durations ranged from 10 to 16 weeks. Initial doses of aripiprazole ranged from 2 to 15 mg daily that could be titrated up or down in the range of 2 to 30 mg daily based on efficacy and tolerability. Overall, aripiprazole was well tolerated with the most common treatment-related study discontinuations attributed to the adverse events of anxiety, insomnia, akathisia, asthenia, restlessness, and somnolence.
Based on the reviewed literature, aripiprazole is a reasonable therapy option as monotherapy or adjunct therapy in patients with PTSD. Larger randomized controlled trials are needed to better understand the role of this atypical antipsychotic in patients with PTSD.