For clinical management of psychosis, both classical and novel antipsychotic drugs are available, but teratogenic potential of second generation antipsychotic drugs in general and third generation in particular has not been established so far in clinical and preclinical studies. Reports on third generation antipsychotic drugs are not available. Therefore, present study has been undertaken to compare the teratogenic potential, and fetal toxicity of quetiapine and aripiprazole in in utero rat fetuses since equivalent therapeutic doses were administered during critical period of somatic and neural development. Pregnant nulliparous Wistar rats (≈ 10 weeks age and 180 ± 5 g weight) were exposed to selected doses of quetiapine (55, 80 and 100 mg/kg) and aripiprazole (2, 3 and 5 mg/kg) from gestation day 6 to 21 through oral route. Similarly control subjects were also treated to vehicle of the drugs with similar protocol. On gestation day 22, after mild anesthesia, pregnant subjects were sacrificed and their fetuses were collected, weighed and examined for birth defects, if any.
Results indicate that prenatal exposure to quetiapine induced gross external anomalies and fetal toxicity (limb deformities, body and brain weight) than ARI. These data indicate the 3rd generation antipsychotic drug, aripiprazole is safer than quetiapine for teratogenic potential point of view. Hence, aripiprazole could be an alternate and safe option to treat pregnant women after extrapolation of animal data to human beings.