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Neuropsychobiology. 1999;39(1):10-7.

Auditory P50 in schizophrenics on clozapine: improved gating parallels clinical improvement and changes in plasma 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol.

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Department of Psychiatry, Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Denver, Colo., USA.


Schizophrenic patients have decreased inhibition of the P50 auditory evoked potential response to the second of two paired click stimuli delivered 500 ms apart. This deficit in inhibitory gating does not change during treatment with typical neuroleptics. We recently reported that neuroleptic-resistant schizophrenics had enhanced P50 gating after 1 month of clozapine treatment, if they responded with decreased clinical symptoms. This study reports the outcome of more prolonged treatment. Ten treatment-refractory schizophrenic patients were studied at baseline, after 1 month on clozapine, and again after 15 +/- 6.1 (SD) months of clozapine treatment. Eight subjects reached a clinically stable improved state, at which time they had significantly improved P50 auditory gating. One patient had a return of impaired gating after stopping clozapine, as did another during a clinical relapse. Decreasing plasma 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol levels with clozapine treatment were correlated with improved P50 gating and improved Brief Bsychiatric Rating Scale-positive scores. This study provides further evidence that improved P50 gating in schizophrenic patients treated with clozapine coincides with clinical improvement and that this improvement can be sustained for at least 1 year.

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