Asenapine Transdermal Patch for the Management of Schizophrenia


Adam M. Kaye: 0000-0002-7224-3322

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Psychopharmacology Bulletin







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Purpose of Review: This is a comprehensive review of the literature regarding the use of asenapine for the treatment of schizophrenia (SZ) in adults. It covers an introduction, epidemiology, risk factors, pathophysiology, and current treatment modalities regarding SZ, provides a background on the mechanism of action of asenapine, and then reviews the existing evidence for use of asenapine in both its sublingual and transdermal formulation in the treatment of SZ. Recent Findings: SZ is a complex and multifactorial mental disorder which is thought to combine several genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors causing abnormalities in the dopaminergic system. Symptoms are categorized in delusions, hallucinations, disorganization, and negative presentations like affective flattening and apathy. Current treatment focuses on antipsychotic medications by means of oral administration or long-acting injection. Asenapine is a second-generation antipsychotic with 5HT-2A antagonist and 5HT-1A/1B partial agonist properties, which provides a favorable profile in targeting schizophrenic symptoms, while reducing motor side effects and improving mood and cognition. Asenapine in its sublingual formulation was FDA approved for treatment of SZ and bipolar I disorder in adults in August of 2009 and has been proven to be both effective and safe. Transdermal patch of asenapine (Secuado) was FDA approved in October of 2019, the first and only FDA approved patch for SZ in adults, which offers another strategy for treatment to improve compliance and ease of administration. Summary: SZ is a chronic and debilitating disease which is still not well understood and comes at great cost with regards to the quality of life for patients. Medication side-effects and compliance are enormous issues which take a toll on health care systems in industrialized nations and keep patients from achieving stability with their disease. Transdermal asenapine is a new first-in-class dosage form and provides a novel modality of administration. It has been shown to be effective in reducing positive, as well as negative symptoms, while still maintaining a favorable side-effect profile.