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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1998 Jun;97(6):458-66.

Evolution of plasma homovanillic acid (HVA) in chronic schizophrenic patients treated with haloperidol.

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  • 1University Clinic of Mental Health and Therapeutics, Sainte-Anne Hospital, Paris, France.


In a 4-week study of 14 drug-free schizophrenic patients (according to DSM-III-R), free and conjugated fractions of plasma homovanillic acid (pHVA) were repeatedly measured. Free HVA levels decreased during the first 2 h of haloperidol intake (P < 0.03). Conjugated HVA levels slowly decreased during the following weeks (P < 0.05), while free HVA levels remained stable. After 4 weeks, free HVA levels remained unchanged 2 h after morning haloperidol intake, but conjugated HVA levels tended to increase. In haloperidol responders, at baseline the free/total HVA ratio was significantly higher than that in non-responders (P < 0.01). Tolerant patients, i.e. those whose post-treatment free HVA levels decreased below pre-treatment levels, were not found to respond better to haloperidol than non-tolerant patients. The balance between free and conjugated pHVA may be a better reflection of the action of haloperidol than free pHVA levels and it may be of prognostic value in terms of drug response.

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