Pimavanserin: A novel drug approved to treat Parkinson’s disease psychosis

Amanda K. Kitten, Sarah A. Hallowell, Stephen R. Saklad, Kirk E. Evoy

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    12 Scopus citations


    Objective: Pimavanserin is the first United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved treatment for Parkinson’s disease psychosis (PDP). This article reviews the safety, efficacy, and pharmacology data for pimavanserin and its role in therapy. Method of Research: Initial literature sources were identified via MEDLINE search (1946–September 2016) of pimavanserin and ACP-103 (original molecular designation). Reference review and search of FDA.gov and clinicaltrials.gov yielded additional studies. English-language studies of pimavanserin for PDP were evaluated. Animal studies were excluded. Randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) were prioritized. Results: Four RCTs were identified. In each, pimavanserin was well-tolerated with few adverse effects and no worsening of motor symptoms. A Phase II trial displayed a nonsignificant trend toward Scale for Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS) improvement (p=0.09), with significant benefits in secondary efficacy markers. However, two Phase III trials, including one that was terminated early, failed to show significant SAPS improvement. A third Phase III trial with an improved research design utilized a nine item subset of the SAPS, the SAPS-PD, as the primary outcome and demonstrated that pimavanserin 40mg was effective in improving PDP compared to placebo (p=0.0014, effect size=0.50). Secondary outcomes were also significantly improved: Clinical Global Impression of Severity (CGI-S) (p=0.0007, effect size=0.52) and Clinical Global Impression of Improvement (CGI-I) (p=0.0011, effect size=0.51), caregiver burden (p=0.0016, effect size=0.50), nighttime sleep (p=0.0446, effect size=0.31), and daytime wakefulness (p=0.012, effect size=0.39). Conclusion: Evidence suggests pimavanserin attenuates PDP symptoms with few adverse effects and little risk of worsening motor function. With limited treatment options for PDP, pimavanserin represents an important therapeutic innovation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)16-22
    Number of pages7
    JournalInnovations in Clinical Neuroscience
    Issue number1-2
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


    • ACP-103
    • Parkinson’s disease psychosis
    • Pimavanserin

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Clinical Neurology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health


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