Caplyta Review: The Best Bipolar Depression Med?

Caplyta Review: The Best Bipolar Depression Med?


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Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to prescription medication.

Caplyta is an FDA-approved medication for bipolar I and bipolar II depression, as well as schizophrenia. The generic version of this drug is called lumateperone, and we’ll use these terms interchangably throughout this article since they refer to the same active drug ingredient.

But is Caplyta proven to be effective for treating bipolar depression? Does the drug cause any side effects? Is the generic version equally effective? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Caplyta?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze medical studies on Caplyta to determine if it’s effective and whether or not it causes side effects.

We’ll share our thoughts on whether the generic version is a better option than the branded version, and feature unsponsored Caplyta user reviews.

Is Caplyta Proven to Work?

Caplyta has been studied in various clinical trials for its effects on bipolar depression.

A clinical trial published in The American Journal of Psychiatry tested the effectiveness of Caplyta for major depressive episodes in patients with bipolar disorder.

Patients with both bipolar I and bipolar II experienced significant decreases in depression while taking Caplyta.

A 2023 clinical trial reported similarly positive results in patients with bipolar depression with mixed features, which means that “high” and “low” feelings can occur simultaneously:

“[Caplyta] significantly improved symptoms of depression and disease severity”.

A clinical trial published in The Journal of Neuroscience suggests Caplyta to be effective, and sheds light on one of the ways it may work in the brain and body.

The medication was shown to lower levels of inflammation in the brain and blood and support blood-brain barrier function, both of which can normalize dysregulated brain processes.

Based on the available research, we consider Caplyta likely to be effective for treating depression in patients with bipolar I and bipolar II depression, which is unsurprising given its FDA approval.

But does the medication cause severe side effects? We’ll answer that question in the next section.

Does Caplyta Cause Side Effects?

Caplyta FDA label black box warning

The FDA “black box” warning label for Caplyta is shown above.

This is the most severe category of warning issued by the FDA, and in the case of Caplyta, the agency suggests that the drug may increase the risk of death in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis, and may increase suicidal thoughts and actions in adolescent and young adult patients.

Individuals in these groups may benefit from speaking with their doctor about alternate options.

The above side effects are rare. The more common side effects of Caplyta were reported in a 2021 clinical trial. Sleepiness and nausea were the only side effects shown to occur more often than in the placebo group.

The Caplyta website lists other serious potential side effects including: stroke, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, uncontrolled body movements, metabolic issues, seizures and more.

But how do real patients rate and describe the effects of Caplyta? We’ll feature real user reviews in the next section.

Real Users Review Caplyta

A YouTube creator named “BeyondBipolarBlog” shares his experience taking Caplyta:

A YouTube creator named Emilia Lecter shared her thoughts on Caplyta for schizophrenia:

Does Caplyta Cause Weight Gain?

One of the most common questions that people have about Caplyta is whether or not it causes weight gain, which is a sensible question given that many antidepressants are associated with weight gain, as we documented in our Paxil reviews article.

The effects of Caplyta on weight have been studied in clinical trials, and the results appear to be favorable, especially compared to other antidepressants.

A 2022 meta-study analyzed data on Caplyta’s effects on weight from five clinical trials and concluded the following:

“[Caplyta] displays minimal to no weight gain among participants in the studies reviewed.”

Other studies we reviewed while researching this article concluded similar. This suggests that Caplyta may be a good option for overweight or obese patients with bipolar depression.

Is The Generic Version As Effective?

As stated in the intro to this article, the generic version of Caplyta is called lumateperone.

We typically recommend that patients speak with their doctor about generic versions of medications over their branded equivalents, because they should be equally effective.

A 2019 medical review compared the effectiveness and safety of brand name and generic drugs, and found that generics were equally effective.

However, at the time of publishing this article, there is no commercially-available generic drug for Caplyta given its recent FDA-approval date (December of 2019).

If this changes, we will update this article with a price comparison between Caplyte and generic lumateperone.

But what’s the average rating out of 10 for Caplyta from real patients? We’ll review that question in the next section.

Real Patients Review Caplyta

Caplyta has an average review rating of 5.4 out of 10 stars on Drugs.com, which is a resource that allows prescription medication users to rate drugs they’re taking.

The rating for treatment of bipolar disorder (5.7 out of 10) is higher than the rating for treatment of schizophrenia (4.7 out of 10).

The top positive review comes from a user named “Saras…” who gives the medication a 10/10 star rating and claims it improved their quality of life:

“For the first time in 25+ years I feel hopeful; I am finding real joy in things, laughing genuinely, and I am able to be more compassionate and realistic with the pressures I put on myself. It’s improving my outlook on life and in turn improving my relationships. This is a miracle med for me."

The top negative review is written by a user named “tery” who claims that Caplyta caused side effects:

"This is a BIG no for me. I took ONE capsule and literally could barely walk I was so tired. Then I woke up with the biggest headache. I couldn't even fathom having to go through a few days of this let alone possibly weeks."

How Does Caplyta Work?

Caplyta has various mechanisms of action, but it appears from clinical research that one of the most important is inhibiting reuptake of serotonin.

Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of antidepressant medications that delay the brain’s normal processing of serotonin, as we documented in our review of another antidepressant medication called Pristiq.

By delaying processing of serotonin, levels of this neurotransmitter in the brain are higher, which can improve mood and quality of life.

According to the above-linked medical review, Caplyta has more of an effect on serotonin than dopamine, which is a feature of newer-generation antidepressants that may lead to better patient outcomes.

Our Mental Wellness Recommendation

We recommend a platform called Brightside to patients on a mental health journey. It's an online therapy and medication platform that connects patients with licensed therapists and doctors from the comfort of their home.

medical review published in the Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy journal found that online therapy was equally effective to in-person therapy for treating depression, anxiety and PTSD. Therapy may be a good first option for patients who want to avoid the side effects of medication.

Brightside also can connect patients with licensed psychiatrists that can prescribe medication. Some patients choose only therapy, some choose only medication, and some choose both. The brand reports that 86% of members feel significantly better within 12 weeks of treatment.

Patients with and without health insurance can use Brightside. For many patients with health insurance, treatment is entirely covered by insurance.

The cost for medication without health insurance is capped at $95/month and the cost for therapy without health insurance is capped at $299/month.

Interested patients can check out Brightside at this link to the brand's website.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Caplyta is a recently-approved medication that’s clinically shown to be effective for treating bipolar I and bipolar II depression, as well as schizophrenia.

The drug has been shown in research trials to be effective in patients with bipolar disorder, and with bipolar depression with mixed features.

Caplyta does cause side effects in some patients. The more severe, but less likely, are stroke and increased risk of suicidal thoughts. The less severe are nausea and sleepiness.

Weight gain is not a side effect of Caplyta based on early research, which may make the drug a superior option in patients who are overweight or obese with bipolar depression.

There is no generic version of Caplyta currently available but sale, but that’s likely to change in the future once the manufacturer’s patent expires. When it does, we will update this article with information about the most affordable generic version of the drug.

Caplyta has several mechanisms of action, but primarily it appears to work by reducing inflammation and increasing circulating levels of serotonin in the brain.