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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2001 Jan;24(1):47-54.

The effect of clozapine on caudate nucleus volume in schizophrenic patients previously treated with typical antipsychotics.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Typical antipsychotics have been reported to enlarge the caudate nucleus in schizophrenic patients. The atypical antipsychotic, clozapine, is associated with a decrease in caudate size in patients previously treated with typical antipsychotics. The present study investigates whether a change in caudate volume after switching from treatment with typical antipsychotics to treatment with clozapine is related to improvement in symptoms or tardive dyskinesia (TD). Twenty-six schizophrenic patients participated in this open study. Caudate nucleus volume and TD were assessed before discontinuing typical antipsychotics and after 24 weeks of treatment with clozapine. After discontinuing typical antipsychotics, symptoms were assessed in a 3 days drug-free period and subsequently once a month. Treatment with clozapine resulted in a decrease in caudate volume, improvement in symptoms and amelioration of TD. However, no difference in caudate volume changes was found between responders and non-responders to clozapine and no correlations were found between caudate volume changes and reduction of TD. In conclusion, this study replicates earlier findings that clozapine decreases caudate volume in patients previously treated with typical antipsychotics and suggests that this effect is unrelated to treatment response or to amelioration of TD.

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