Aripiprazole is a new antipsychotic that offers a novel mechanism of action and is effective in the treatment of schizophrenia. It is a D2 receptor partial agonist with partial agonist activity at 5HT1A receptors and antagonist activity at 5HT2A receptors. Aripiprazole may best be described as the dopamine-serotonin system stabilizer.
The results of clinical trials show good efficacy in treating positive and negative symptoms, and that aripiprazole also has certain effects on affective symptoms occurring as part a schizophrenic psychosis. Aripiprazole shows a favorable safety and tolerability profile with low potential for extrapyramidal symptoms, weight gain and sedation, prolactin elevations, or QTc interval prolongation. These properties make it an appealing drug for maintenance use, especially in patients not tolerating other antipsychotics.