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Am J Psychiatry. 2004 Oct;161(10):1829-36.

Reduced basal ganglia volumes after switching to olanzapine in chronically treated patients with schizophrenia.

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VGH Research Pavilion, Centre for Complex Disorders, West 10th Ave., Room 211-828, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V5Z 1L8.



A follow-up study of patients with schizophrenia was conducted to examine change in striatal volumes and extrapyramidal symptoms after a change in medication.


Thirty-seven patients with schizophrenia and 23 healthy volunteers were examined. Patients at baseline receiving typical antipsychotics (N=10) or risperidone but exhibiting limited response (N=13) were switched to treatment with olanzapine. Patients receiving risperidone and exhibiting a good response (N=14) continued treatment with risperidone. Caudate, putamen, and pallidal volumes were assessed with magnetic resonance imaging. The Extrapyramidal Symptoms Rating Scale was used to assess clinical signs and symptoms.


At baseline, basal ganglia volumes in patients treated with typical antipsychotics were greater than in healthy subjects (putamen: 7.0% larger; globus pallidus: 20.7% larger). After the switch to olanzapine, putamen and globus pallidus volumes decreased (9.8% and 10.7%, respectively) and did not differ from those of healthy subjects at the follow-up evaluation. Akathisia was also reduced. In the patients receiving risperidone at baseline, basal ganglia volumes did not differ between those exhibiting good and poor response, and no significant volume changes were observed in subjects with poor risperidone response after the switch to olanzapine treatment.


Olanzapine reversed putamen and globus pallidus enlargement induced by typical antipsychotics but did not alter volumes in patients previously treated with risperidone. Changes in striatal volumes related to typical and atypical antipsychotics may represent an interactive effect between individual medications and unique patient characteristics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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