BL-1020, a new γ-aminobutyric acid-enhanced antipsychotic: Results of 6-week, randomized, double-blind, controlled, efficacy and safety study

Yona Geffen, Richard Keefe, Jonathan Rabinowitz, Ravi Anand, Michael Davidson

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34 Scopus citations


Objective: BL-1020 is a γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-enhanced antipsychotic that combines dopamine antagonism with GABA agonist activity. On the basis of animal models, we tested the hypotheses that BL-1020 would be effective in ameliorating both psychotic symptoms and cognitive impairments, with a favorable safety profile in acutely ill schizophrenia patients. Method: 363 hospital-based psychiatric patients in India, Romania, and United States aged 18 to 65 years and meeting criteria for DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of chronic schizophrenia were randomized double-blind to receive BL-1020 10 mg/d, BL-1020 20-30 mg/d, placebo, or risperidone (2-8 mg/d) for 6 weeks. The main outcome measures were the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia, Readiness for Discharge Questionnaire, Clinical Global Impressions Scale (CGI) , and Extrapyramidal Symptom Rating Scale. The study ran from July 2008 to June 2009. Results: BL-1020 20-30 mg was significantly better than placebo on PANSS (P = .02) and CGI (P < .001) measurements, with no significant differences noted between BL-1020 20-30 mg and risperidone. There were no significant differences in the maximum change on Extrapyramidal Symptom Rating Scale between risperidone and BL-1020 20-30 mg, and both were significantly worse (P < .001) than placebo. BL-1020 20-30 mg was associated with significantly greater improvements on cognitive functioning as measured by the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia composite score when compared to placebo (effect size = 0.50, P = .009), risperidone (effect size = 0.43, P = .019), and BL-1020 10 mg (effect size = 0.42, P = .013) after 6 weeks. Conclusions: BL-1020 appears to be an effective antipsychotic with possible procognitive effects that will need to be further tested for short- and long-term effects. A further randomized controlled trial using the US Food and Drug Administration-recommended Measurement and Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia cognitive battery is ongoing. Trial Registration: identifier: NCT00567710.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1168-e1174
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychiatry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012

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© Copyright 2012 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.


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