Sertindole for schizophrenia

  • Lewis R
  • Bagnall A
  • Leitner M
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BACKGROUND: Sertindole is an atypical antipsychotic, which is thought to give a lower incidence of extrapyramidal side effects at clinically effective doses than typical antipsychotic drugs. In December 1998, Lundbeck Ltd., the manufacturers of sertindole, voluntarily suspended the availability of the drug due to concerns about cardiac arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death associated with its use. However, based on the advice of an appointed expert group, the Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products (CPMP) lifted the suspension of sertindole in October 2001, a decision that was ratified by the European Commission on the 26th of June 2002. Lundbeck have committed to the CPMP to carry out two post-marketing surveillance (PMS) studies (which were initiated in July 2002) to provide additional epidemiological data under conditions of normal drug usage. Initial marketing of the product will be restricted and Lundbeck is currently in discussions with the US health authorities (FDA) to investigate whether, and if so when, it would be possible to launch Serdolect in the US market. OBJECTIVES: To determine the effects of sertindole compared with placebo, typical and other atypical antipsychotic drugs for schizophrenia and related psychoses. SEARCH STRATEGY: Our Initial searches included electronic searches of Biological Abstracts (1980-1999), The Cochrane Library (Issue 1, 1999), The Cochrane Schizophrenia Group's Register (August 2000), EMBASE (1980-1999), LILACS (1982-1996), MEDLINE (1966-1999), PSYNDEX (1977-1995) and PsycLIT (1974-1999). In addition, we searched pharmaceutical databases on the Dialog Corporation Datastar and Dialog services. We searched references of all identified studies for further trials. We contacted the manufacturer of sertindole and authors of trials. We updated the literature search by searching the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group's Trials Register in April 2003. SELECTION CRITERIA: All randomised controlled trials that compared sertindole to placebo or other antipsychotic (atypical or typical) drug treatments for patients with schizophrenia or related psychosis . DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We independently inspected citations and, where possible abstracts; ordered papers for re-inspection and quality assessment and independently extracted data. For homogeneous dichotomous data, we calculated the risk ratio (RR), 95% confidence interval (CI) and, where appropriate, the number needed to treat (NNT) or number needed to harm (NNH) on an intention-to-treat basis. For continuous data, we calculated weighted mean differences (WMD). We inspected all data for heterogeneity. MAIN RESULTS: Currently the review includes three studies with a total of 1,104 participants. One was a medium term (eight weeks) placebo controlled study that examined three different doses of sertindole (8, 12 and 20mg/day). The remaining two studies compared the use of sertindole with haloperidol (10mg/day). One was a short term study (six weeks) that looked at four different doses of sertindole (8, 16, 20, 24mg/day) and the other was a long term study (one year) that evaluated the use of sertindole 24mg/day in participants attending outpatients. We excluded two large important studies because they did not report any usable data. (Both had greater than 50% loss to follow-up and data on 'leaving the study early' was inadequately reported). SERTINDOLE VERSUS PLACEBO: Sertindole at 20mg/day was found to be more effective than placebo in terms of BPRS total scores (1 study, n=78, MD 6.2, CI -11.8 to -0.6) and CGI total end point scores (1 study, n=78, MD -0.9, CI -1.6 to -0.2). A marginally statistically significantly greater number of participants that were treated with 20 mg of sertindole were reported to have been 'very much improved' as compared to those taking placebo (1 study, n=102, RR 7.6, CI 1.0 to 57.9, NNT 7.9, CI 4.3 to 41.1). There was no statistically significant difference between sertindole at 8 or 12 mg/day and placebo for these three outcome measures. There were no statistically significant differences between sertindole (8, 12 or 20 mg) and placebo for the incidence of extrapyramidal symptoms, extrapyramidal related events or use of medication to avoid extrapyramidal symptoms. There were no statistically significant differences found between sertindole and placebo for the movement disorders akathisia, cogwheel rigidity, hypertonia and tremor or somnolence. At eight weeks a statistically significant difference between placebo and all sertindole groups (8, 12 and 20 mg) for mean change from baseline in the QT and QTc intervals were observed (p values and SD were not reported). There was a statistically significant greater mean weight gain among participants taking sertindole (20 mg, mean weight gain of 3.3 kg) as compared to placebo (mean weight gain of 0.8 kg; p<0.05). SERTINDOLE VERSUS HALOPERIDOL: At one year, a greater number of participants who were treated with haloperidol as compared to sertindole (24mg/day) were leaving the study early due to any reason (1 study, n=282, RR 0.6, CI 0.4 to 1.0, NNH 8.8, CI 4.7 to 74.0) or non-compliance (1 study, n=282, RR 0.2, CI 0.0 to 0.7, NNH 12.8, CI 7.7 to 37.8). However, at six weeks, there was no statistically significant difference between sertindole (at 8, 16, 20, or 24mg) and haloperidol for this latter outcome. The incidence of EPS was higher among those treated with haloperidol than sertindole at 8, 16, 20 or 24mg/day (8mg: 1 study, n=245, RR 0.1, CI 0.0 to 0.7, NNH 11.4, CI 7.1 to 29.8; 16mg: 1 study, n=252, RR 0.3, CI 0.1 to 1.0, NNH 15.5, CI 8.0 to 217.9; and 20mg: 1 study, n=253, RR 0.2, CI 0.1 to 0.8, NNH 13.7, CI 7.7 to 68.3; 24mg: 2 studies, n=524, RR 0.6, CI 0.4 to 0.8, NNH 8.7, CI 5.4 to 23.0). More participants treated with haloperidol experienced akathisia, tremor and hypertonia than those treated with sertindole (Akathisia - 8mg: 1 study, n=245, RR 0.2, CI 0.1 to 0.5, NNH 6.0, CI 4.1 to 11.2; 16mg: 1 study, n=252, RR 0.1, CI 0.0 to 0.3, NNH 5.4, CI 3.9 9.0; 20mg: 1 study, n=253, RR 0.3, CI 0.2 to 0.7, NNH 7.3, CI 4.6 to 17.9; 24mg: 2 studies, n=524, RR 0.5, CI 0.3 to 0.7, NNH 8.6, CI 5.6 to 18.3. Tremor - 8mg: 1 study, n=245, RR 0.3, CI 0.1 to 0.7, NNH 8.5, CI 5.2 to 24.0; 16mg: 1 study, n=252, RR 0.2, CI 0.1 to 0.5, NNH 7.3, 4.8 to 15.6; 20mg: 1 study, n=253, RR 0.2, CI 0.1 to 0.6, NNH 7.8, CI 4.9 to 18.1; 24mg: 2 studies, n=524, RR 0.4, CI 0.2 to 0.6, NNH 8.2, CI 5.6 to 15.3. For Hypertonic - 24mg: 2 studies, n=524, RR 0.5, CI 0.3 to 0.8, NNH 12.4, CI 7.5 to 35.0; for sertindole 8, 16 and 20mg there was no statistically significant differences between the treatment groups). One study reported that at six weeks, there was a statistically significant greater increase from baseline to final value in mean QTc interval in the sertindole 16, 20 and 24mg groups (20, 26, and 24msec, respectively) than in the haloperidol group (0msec; p value was not reported), but no SD or any other measure of variance for the effect sizes were reported. For one long term study only one participant from the sertindole group (24mg) had a QT interval that exceeded 500msec (1 study, n=282, RR 3.0 CI 0.1 to 73.0), but 11participants treated with Sertindole had QTc intervals of at least 500msec, compared to none in the haloperidol treated group (1 study, n=282, RR 23.0, CI 1.4 to 386.6, NNH 12.8, CI 8.2 to 29.6). At six weeks, fewer participants treated with sertindole at 8mg or 24mg were affected by somnolence than those treated with haloperidol (sertindole 8mg: 1 study, n=245, RR 0.1, CI 0.0 to 0.7, NNH 11.4, CI 7.1 to 29.8; 24mg: 2 studies, n=524, RR 0.6, CI 0.4 to 1.0, NNH 14.8, CI 7.7 to 205.2). The incidence of rhinitis was found to be statistically significantly higher among those taking sertindole at 16 or 24mg as compared to haloperidol (16mg: 1 study, n=252, RR 10.8, CI 1.4 to 82.6, NNH 12.7, CI 7.7 to 36.7; 24mg: 2 studies, n= 524, RR 2.1, CI 1.4 to 3.1, NNH 8.7, CI 5.6 to 18.6). At one year, 33 participants treated with sertindole (24mg) had experienced the sexual adverse event of decreased ejaculatory volume, compared with six participants treated with haloperidol. However the number of included male participants was not reported and therefore the RR could not be calculated. At one year, more participants taking sertindole (24mg/day) had put on weight compared to those taking haloperidol (1 study, n=282, RR 6.3, CI 1.9 to 20.9, NNH 8.8, CI 5.7 to 19.1). At six weeks, all of the sertindole groups showed an increase in body weight from baseline to final evaluation ranging from 1.3kg to 1.9kg, all of which represented a statistically significantly different weight change than that recorded for the haloperidol treatment group (-0.1Kg). However, the actual weight gain for each sertindole dosage group was not reported and no SD or any other measure of variance was given. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Sertindole at a dose of 20mg/day was found to be more antipsychotic than placebo. When used at 8, 12 or 20mg/day it appears to be as acceptable as placebo (in terms of various adverse events including movement disorders and somnolence), but seems to be associated with more cardiac problems (8, 12 or 20mg/day) and an increase in weight gain (20mg/day) than placebo. Sertindole at a dose of 24mg/day was better tolerated than haloperidol (in terms of participants leaving the study early). It was also found to be was associated with fewer movement disorders (at 8, 16, 20 or 24mg/day) and sedation (8 or 24mg/day) than haloperidol. However, it was shown to cause more cardiac anomalies (16, 20 or 24mg/day), weight gain (all doses combined), rhinitis (16 or 24mg/day), and problems with sexual functioning (24mg/day) than haloperidol. One short term study reported that sertindole 16mg/day was the most optimal dose.




Lewis, R., Bagnall, A.-M., & Leitner, M. (2005). Sertindole for schizophrenia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

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