Cariprazine ball-and-stick model.png
Clinical data
Trade namesVraylar (US), Reagila (EU)
Other namesRGH-188
  • AU: D
Routes of
By mouth (capsules)
Drug classAtypical antipsychotic
ATC code
Legal status
Legal status
Pharmacokinetic data
Protein binding91–97%
MetabolismLiver via CYP3A4 and to a lesser extent CYP2D6
Elimination half-life2–5 days (2–3 wks for active metabolite, desmethylcariprazine)
ExcretionUrine (21%), bile
  • N'-[trans-4-[2-[4-(2,3-Dichlorophenyl)-1-piperazinyl]ethyl]cyclohexyl]-N,N-dimethylurea
CAS Number
PubChem CID
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)
Chemical and physical data
Molar mass427.41 g·mol−1
3D model (JSmol)
  • CN(C)C(=O)N[C@H]1CC[C@H](CCN2CCN(CC2)c2cccc(Cl)c2Cl)CC1
  • InChI=1S/C21H32Cl2N4O/c1-25(2)21(28)24-17-8-6-16(7-9-17)10-11-26-12-14-27(15-13-26)19-5-3-4-18(22)20(19)23/h3-5,16-17H,6-15H2,1-2H3,(H,24,28)/t16-,17- checkY

Cariprazine, sold under the brand names Vraylar in the United States and Reagila in the European Union, is an atypical antipsychotic which is used in the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar mania,[5] and bipolar depression.[6] It acts primarily as a D3 receptor and D2 receptor partial agonist, with high selectivity for the D3 receptor.[7] Positive Phase III study results were published for schizophrenia and mania in early 2012, and for bipolar disorder I depression from a Phase II trial in 2015.[8][9] It is also potentially useful as an add-on therapy in major depressive disorder.[10]

Rights are owned by Gedeon Richter and Actavis. The drug received FDA approval on September 17, 2015.[11]

Medical uses

Cariprazine is used to treat schizophrenia and manic, depressive, or mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder.[12] Cariprazine consistently improved depressive symptoms across a spectrum of patients with bipolar I depression,[13] and has been considered an effective and well tolerated treatment for the condition.[14]

Side effects

Side effects may first appear on the first day after starting cariprazine.[3] The most prevalent side effects for cariprazine include akathisia, and insomnia. Cariprazine does not appear to impact prolactin levels, and unlike many other antipsychotics, does not increase the QT interval on the electrocardiogram (ECG). In short term clinical trials extrapyramidal effects, sedation, akathisia, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, anxiety, and constipation were observed. One review characterized the frequency of these events as "not greatly different from that seen in patient treated with placebo"[15] but a second called the incidence of movement-related disorders "rather high".[16][17]

Regarding side effects, the label of cariprazine states, "The possibility of lenticular changes or cataracts cannot be excluded at this time."[3]



See also: Atypical antipsychotic § Pharmacodynamics, and Antipsychotic § Comparison of medications

Site Ki (nM) IA (%) Action
5-HT1A 2.6 Partial agonist
5-HT2A 18.8 Antagonist
5-HT2B 0.58 Antagonist
5-HT2C 134 Inverse agonist
5-HT7 111 Antagonist
α1A 155 Antagonist
D2L 0.49 ~40% Partial agonist
D2S 0.69 ~40% Partial agonist
D3 0.085 ~60% Partial agonist
H1 23.2 Antagonist
mACh >1,000 Antagonist
The smaller the Ki value, the more strongly the drug binds to the site. IA=intrinsic activity.

Unlike many antipsychotics that are D2 and 5-HT2A receptor antagonists, cariprazine is a D2 and D3 partial agonist. It also has a higher affinity for D3 receptors. The D2 and D3 receptors are important targets for the treatment of schizophrenia, because the overstimulation of dopamine receptors has been implicated as a possible cause of schizophrenia.[19] Cariprazine acts to inhibit overstimulated dopamine receptors (acting as an antagonist) and stimulate the same receptors when the endogenous dopamine levels are low. Cariprazine's high selectivity towards D3 receptors could prove to reduce side effects associated with the other antipsychotic drugs, because D3 receptors are mainly located in the ventral striatum and would not incur the same motor side effects (extrapyramidal symptoms) as drugs that act on dorsal striatum dopamine receptors.[20] Cariprazine also acts on 5-HT1A receptors, though the affinity is considerably lower than the affinity to dopamine receptors (seen in monkey and rat brain studies).[20][21] In the same studies, cariprazine has been noted to produce pro-cognitive effects, the mechanisms of which are currently under investigation. An example of pro-cognitive effects occurred in pre-clinical trials with rats: rats with cariprazine performed better in a scopolamine-induced learning impairment paradigm in a water labyrinth test. This may be due to the selective antagonist nature of D3 receptors, though further studies need to be conducted.[20] This result could be very useful for schizophrenia, as one of the symptoms includes cognitive deficits.

Cariprazine has partial agonist as well as antagonist properties depending on the endogenous dopamine levels. When endogenous dopamine levels are high (as is hypothesized in schizophrenic patients), cariprazine acts as an antagonist by blocking dopamine receptors. When endogenous dopamine levels are low, cariprazine acts more as an agonist, increasing dopamine receptor activity.[22] In monkey studies, the administration of increasing doses of cariprazine resulted in a dose-dependent and saturable reduction of specific binding. At the highest dose (300 μg/kg), the D2/D3 receptors were 94% occupied, while at the lowest dose (1 μg/kg), receptors were 5% occupied.[21]Dopamine D2 and D3 receptor occupancy in humans has been summarized as, "In healthy volunteers, single-dose cariprazine of 0.5 mg occupied up to 12% of striatal D2/D3 receptors, while striatal D2/D3 occupancy after multiple dosing up to cariprazine 1.0 mg/d ranged from 63 to 79% [39]. In an open-label, fixed-dose, 2-week trial in eight males with schizophrenia, PET scans of dorsal striatal regions (caudate nucleus and putamen) and ventral striatum (nucleus accumbens) showed maximum occupancy (‡ 90%) at a 3-mg target dose of cariprazine following 14 d of treatment [40,41]. After 14 d of cariprazine 1.5 mg/d, receptor occupancy was 69% in the caudate nucleus, 69% in the nucleus accumbens, and 75% in the putamen".[23]

Mechanism of cariprazine action as antagonist or agonist.
Mechanism of cariprazine action as antagonist or agonist.


Cariprazine has high oral bioavailability and can cross the blood brain barrier easily in humans because it is lipophilic.[9] In rats, the oral bioavailability was 52% (with a dose of 1 mg/kg).[17]

Cariprazine is metabolized primarily by the cytochrome P450 3A4 isoenzyme (CYP3A4), with some minor metabolism by CYP2D6. Cariprazine does not induce the production of CYP3A4 or CYP1A2 in the liver, and weakly, competitively inhibits CYP2D6 and CYP3A4.[12]


It has been investigated as a potential adjunct in treatment-resistant major depressive disorder,[12] although trials to date have not found it to be beneficial.[24]


  1. ^ "Vraylar Product information". Health Canada. 25 April 2012. Archived from the original on 29 June 2022. Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  2. ^ "Reagila 1.5 mg hard capsules - Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC)". (emc). 9 August 2018. Archived from the original on 21 October 2020. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Vraylar- cariprazine capsule, gelatin coated Vraylar- cariprazine kit". DailyMed. 18 May 2019. Archived from the original on 24 October 2020. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  4. ^ "Reagila EPAR". European Medicines Agency (EMA). Archived from the original on 24 October 2020. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  5. ^ Agai-Csongor E; Domány G; Nógrádi K; Schmidt E; Galambos J; Vágó I; Keserű GM; Greiner I; Laszlovszky I; Gere A; Schmidt E; Kiss B; Vastag M; Tihanyi K; Sághy K; Laszy J; Gyertyán I; Zájer-Balázs M; Gémesi L; Kapás M; Szombathelyi Z (2012). "Discovery of cariprazine (RGH-188): a novel antipsychotic acting on dopamine D3/D2 receptors". Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 22 (10): 3437–3440. doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2012.03.104. PMID 22537450.
  6. ^ Earley W1; Burgess MV1; Rekeda L1; Dickinson R1; Szatmári B1; Németh G1; McIntyre RS1; Sachs GS1; Yatham LN1 (2019). "Cariprazine Treatment of Bipolar Depression: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Phase 3 Study". American Journal of Psychiatry. 176 (6): 439–448. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.18070824. PMID 30845817.
  7. ^ Kiss B; Horváth A; Némethy Z; Schmidt E; Laszlovszky I; Bugovics G; Fazekas K; Hornok K; Orosz S; Gyertyán I; Agai-Csongor E; Domány G; Tihanyi K; Adham N; Szombathelyi Z (2010). "Cariprazine (RGH-188), a dopamine D(3) receptor-preferring, D(3)/D(2) dopamine receptor antagonist-partial agonist antipsychotic candidate: in vitro and neurochemical profile". The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 333 (1): 328–340. doi:10.1124/jpet.109.160432. PMID 20093397. S2CID 42933132.
  8. ^ Durgam, Suresh; Earley, Willie; Lipschitz, Alan; Guo, Hua; Laszlovszky, István; Németh, György; Vieta, Eduard; Calabrese, Joseph R.; Yatham, Lakshmi N. (2016). "An 8-Week Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Evaluation of the Safety and Efficacy of Cariprazine in Patients with Bipolar I Depression". American Journal of Psychiatry. 173 (3): 271–281. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2015.15020164. PMID 26541814.
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  13. ^ Patel, Mehul; Jain, Rakesh; Tohen, Mauricio; Maletic, Vladimir; Earley, Willie R.; Yatham, Lakshmi N. (2021-03-01). "Efficacy of cariprazine in bipolar I depression across patient characteristics: a post hoc analysis of pooled randomized, placebo-controlled studies". International Clinical Psychopharmacology. 36 (2): 76–83. doi:10.1097/YIC.0000000000000344. ISSN 1473-5857. PMC 7846289. PMID 33230026.
  14. ^ Tohen, Mauricio (2021). "Cariprazine as a Treatment Option for Depressive Episodes Associated with Bipolar 1 Disorder in Adults: An Evidence-Based Review of Recent Data". Drug Design, Development and Therapy. 15: 2005–2012. doi:10.2147/DDDT.S240860. ISSN 1177-8881. PMC 8126799. PMID 34012253.
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