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J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1998 Jun;18(3):248-51.

Naltrexone augmentation of neuroleptics in schizophrenia.

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Neuropsychiatry Program, VA Connecticut Health Care System, West Haven Campus 06516, USA.


This study was conducted to determine whether the addition of naltrexone to ongoing neuroleptic treatment would facilitate the reduction in positive or negative symptoms in patients with schizophrenia. Twenty-one patients meeting DSM-III criteria for schizophrenia were enrolled; all patients had been stabilized for at least 2 weeks on their dosage of neuroleptic medicine before entering the study. Patients were randomized to receive either placebo or naltrexone 200 mg/day for 3 weeks in addition to their neuroleptic. Patients randomized initially into the placebo arm were crossed over to receive naltrexone in a single-blind fashion for 3 additional weeks. All patients were rated weekly with the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS). Fifteen patients received placebo and six received naltrexone in the first 3 weeks. No significant effects of naltrexone on total BPRS scores or BPRS subscale scores were observed. Patients who received naltrexone on a single-blind basis at the end of the placebo-controlled trial demonstrated a transient exacerbation in negative symptoms as reflected by the total BPRS score and the BPRS Withdrawal-Retardation subscale score. Repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) on the BPRS total score of the subsequent treatment with naltrexone showed a trend for a significance in the drug by time effect. Repeated-measures ANOVA on the BPRS Withdrawal-Retardation subscale of the subsequent treatment with naltrexone showed a significant drug by time effect. The current data failed to indicate a clinical benefit when naltrexone was added to the neuroleptic regimen. Other potential applications of naltrexone in schizophrenia are addressed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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