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Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Jan 1;63(1):9-12. Epub 2007 Jul 20.

Sarcosine (N-methylglycine) treatment for acute schizophrenia: a randomized, double-blind study.

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1
Department of Psychiatry, China Medical University and Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Small molecules that enhance the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) neurotransmission have been shown to be beneficial as adjuvant therapy for schizophrenia. Among these compounds, sarcosine (a glycine transporter-I inhibitor), when added to an existing regimen of antipsychotic drugs, has shown its efficacy for both chronically stable and acutely ill patients. However, the efficacy of these agents as a primary antipsychotic agent has not yet been demonstrated.

METHODS:

Twenty acutely symptomatic drug-free patients with schizophrenia were randomly assigned under double-blind conditions to receive a 6-week trial of 2 g or 1 g of sarcosine daily.

RESULTS:

Overall, patients in the 2-g group were more likely to respond as defined by a 20% or more reduction of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale total score, particularly among antipsychotic-naïve patients. However, there was no significant between-group difference in the sarcosine dose x time interaction analysis. Both doses were well tolerated with minimal side effects.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although patients receiving the 2-g daily dose were more likely to respond, it requires further clarification whether the effect is limited to the antipsychotic-naive population. Future placebo- or active-controlled, larger-sized studies are needed to fully assess sarcosine's effects.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00328276.

PMID:
17659263
DOI:
10.1016/j.biopsych.2007.04.038
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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