Saphris is often prescribed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The medication works partly by affecting certain chemicals in the brain, which can help minimize the symptoms seen with these conditions. It comes as a rapidly dissolving tablet that is placed under the tongue. Reported side effects include weight gain, drowsiness, and dizziness.
What Is Saphris?
Saphris® (asenapine) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It comes as a sublingual tablet, which is a tablet that rapidly dissolves under the tongue.
(Click Saphris Uses for more information on indications for this drug, including possible off-label uses.)
Who Makes Saphris?
Saphris is made by Catalent UK Swindon Zydis Ltd. and is marketed and distributed by Schering Corporation.
How Does Saphris Work?
Saphris belongs to a group of medications called atypical (or second-generation) antipsychotic medications. It is not entirely clear how Saphris works for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, it is known that the drug blocks or lessens the effects of certain chemicals in the brain. These chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin, may be elevated in people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Clinical Effects of Saphris
In two of three clinical studies for the treatment of schizophrenia, people taking Saphris experienced an improvement in their schizophrenia symptoms, compared to those taking a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredients). However, in one clinical study, Saphris was no better than the placebo.
Clinical studies have also shown this drug to be effective for bipolar disorder treatment. In these studies, the medication was effective for treating either episodes of mania or mixed episodes, which involve both mania and depression.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed September 25, 2009.
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