Asenapine Treatment in Pediatric Patients with Bipolar I Disorder or Schizophrenia: A Review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Asenapine, administered as a twice-daily (BID) sublingual tablet, is approved in the US as monotherapy for the acute treatment of manic and mixed episodes of bipolar I disorder in children and adolescents aged 10–17 years based on the positive results of one 3-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study; the recommended dose is 2.5–10 mg BID. Although asenapine has been studied in pediatric patients with schizophrenia, it is not approved for this indication. Asenapine is not approved for pediatric use in bipolar I disorder or schizophrenia in other major markets. To inform clinicians treating psychiatric disorders in pediatric patients, we have summarized the neuropharmacology, pharmacokinetics, clinical trial experience, and clinical use of asenapine in pediatric patients. After rapid absorption through the oral mucosa, the pharmacokinetic profile of asenapine in pediatric patients is similar to that which is observed in adult patients, indicating that the recommended adult dosage does not need to be adjusted for pediatric use. Intake of food and water should be avoided for 10 min after administration. In clinical trials, asenapine was generally safe and well tolerated in pediatric patients with bipolar I disorder and schizophrenia. Serious adverse effects were generally related to worsening of the underlying psychiatric disorder. The most common treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) in both indications were sedation and somnolence. Like some other second-generation antipsychotic agents, weight gain and changes in some metabolic parameters were noted; oral effects (e.g., oral hypoesthesia, dysgeusia, paresthesia) related to sublingual administration did not typically result in treatment discontinuation and were generally transient. Extrapyramidal symptom TEAEs occurred in ≥5% of asenapine-treated patients in the acute and long-term studies in bipolar I disorder and schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-134
Number of pages14
JournalPediatric Drugs
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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