Effect of adjunctive pimavanserin on suicidal ideation in patients with major depression: Analysis of the CLARITY study

Richard C. Shelton, Maurizio Fava, Marlene P. Freeman, Michael E. Thase, George I. Papakostas, Manish K. Jha, Madhukar H. Trivedi, Bryan Dirks, Keith Liu, Srdjan Stankovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Up to 15% of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) attempt suicide and up to 2% complete suicide. This was a post-hoc analysis aimed to evaluate the risk of suicide ideation and behavior associated with adjunctive pimavanserin treatment in adults with MDD. Methods: CLARITY was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in patients with MDD and an inadequate response to a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). For this post-hoc analysis, the primary endpoint was mean change from baseline for HAMD item 3 (suicide). The incidence of suicidal ideation or behavior was also assessed from the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) and reports of adverse events. Results: During Stage 1, LS mean change for HAMD Item 3 was reduced from baseline at each week with pimavanserin with a significant difference between pimavanserin and placebo at Week 3 (p=0.012, effect size: 0.431). At any post-baseline assessment, suicidal ideation on the C-SSRS was reported in 28 (18.1%) of patients with placebo and 9 (17.3%) with pimavanserin during Stage 1 and in 7 (20.7%) with placebo and 4 (13.8%) with pimavanserin during Stage 2. No events of suicidal behavior were observed with either placebo or pimavanserin. Limitations: : The post hoc nature, exclusion of patients with any history of suicide from the primary study, and the small number of patients who demonstrated evidence of suicidal ideation. Conclusions: Adjunctive pimavanserin was not associated with an increase in suicidal ideation in patients with MDD. Further study is needed to verify these results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-485
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of affective disorders
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Major depressive disorder
  • Pimavanserin
  • Suicidality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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