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 Marcia Purse

Saphris - New Drug Approved for Bipolar I Disorder

By August 16, 2009

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This past Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Saphris (asenapine) for the treatment of bipolar I disorder and schizophrenia. Saphris is a new atypical antipsychotic. It is expected to be available to patients later this year as a fast dissolving tablet.

The most common side effects reported by patients in clinical trials using Saphris to treat bipolar disorder were drowsiness, dizziness, movement disorders such as walking issues or tremors, and weight increase. The reported side effects are comparable to those seen with other atypical antipsychotics such as risperidone and olanzapine.

This means there will soon be one more drug in the arsenal to treat bipolar disorder. If you've tried the current medications without success or found the side effects intolerable, perhaps Saphris will be the drug that works for you. If you have difficulty swallowing pills, the quick-dissolve formulation of this antipsychotic may be of interest. However, while this specific medication is new, it is similar to other antipsychotics so if are stable and satisfied with your current medications, you probably don't want to mess with a good thing just to try something new. Talk with your doctor about your options. ~ Kimberly

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August 17, 2009 at 3:26 am
(1) Jon says:

The world needs another atypical antipsychotic like it needs a hole in the head. Actually, a hole might work better. Give us a Lithium without long-term health impacts. Hell, give us ANYTHNG without long-term health impacts. Medicine should be moving away from atypical antipsychotics and doing completely different research. Figure out how Lamotrigine works and you’re on the way to a true breakthrough.

August 18, 2009 at 6:25 am
(2) Howard says:

I couldn’t agree more! And WHEN, TELL ME WHEN, LET ME SAY THAT AGAIN, TELL ME WHEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are drug companies going to quit releasing drugs that cause the added side effect of INCREASED WEIGHT! I got sick reading about this release. It seems to offer little, if anything, over the current poison arsenal of atypical antipsychotics already available.

August 18, 2009 at 9:44 am
(3) Jen says:

Ditto! I hate atypicals and won’t chance taking them anymore. I even got tardive dyskensia from Geodon, which the Dr. said would not happen with that drug. I think atypicals are risky. I wish they would come up with some decent mood stabilizers for a change. I can’t deal with the body temperature issues on antipsychotics either. When you live in a hot climate, you don’t need your drug to add to that! And the weight gain on some meds–doctors always say to eat a healthy diet, but when your appetite is soaring, that is very hard to do. Ok, I’ve vented! Pshew……Oh, one more thing, doctors always say you’ll talk about taking the weight off after they stabilize your mood, but truthfully, the only one who will have to do that is the patient! I gained 70 pounds on one med. Happily, I’ve dropped 55 of it after stopping that med.

January 22, 2010 at 5:22 pm
(4) thankyoufairy says:

Another atypical??? I absolutely hate the class of drugs. Give me another Lamictal. Give me something that works like lithium without the GI issues or risks to my kidneys. Just don’t give me another atypical. They don’t work for me. Lithium, on the other hand, works like a charm. I just have to deal with the upset stomach.
I keep waiting for someone to tell Big Pharma that their “atypical” emperor has no clothes.

April 23, 2010 at 2:59 pm
(5) Cristin says:

After many years of little or no success with antipsychotics, Saphris is my miracale drug. Lamictal also works well for me. I feel fortunate Saphris works so well. Oh, and I haven’t gained any weight!

May 8, 2010 at 3:27 am
(6) Frank says:

I don’t understand how you can say that Cristin. I’ve never tasted something so bitter and terrible in my life. I can’t imagine ever keeping that under my tongue for a minute, much LESS TEN MINUTES!

God, that’s the worst taste ever, and to let it desolve… ughhh (sadly I think it might be working, but I literally havent been able to keep it under my tongue for more than 1 minute without gagging)

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