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Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet]. York (UK): Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK); 1995-.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet].

Meta-analysis of the efficacy of adjunctive NMDA receptor modulators in chronic schizophrenia

Review published: 2011.

Bibliographic details: Singh SP, Singh V.  Meta-analysis of the efficacy of adjunctive NMDA receptor modulators in chronic schizophrenia. CNS Drugs 2011; 25(10): 859-885. [PubMed: 21936588]


BACKGROUND: Based on the glutamatergic NMDA receptor hypofunction theory of schizophrenia, NMDA receptor modulators (NMDARMs) may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of schizophrenia.

OBJECTIVE: This meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the potential of modulators of the NMDA receptor as adjunctive therapy for schizophrenia, using the results from published trials.

DATA SOURCES: A primary electronic search for controlled clinical trials using NMDARMs in schizophrenia was conducted on the PubMed, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, CINAHL® and PsycINFO databases. A secondary manual search of references from primary publications was also performed.

STUDY SELECTION: Inclusion criteria were the application of an established method of diagnosis, randomized case assignment, comparison of NMDARM add-on therapy with placebo, and double-blind assessment of symptoms in chronic schizophrenia using standardized rating scales. Results were based on a total sample size of 1253 cases from 29 trials that fulfilled the specified criteria.

DATA EXTRACTION: Scores on rating scales or on their relevant subscales were obtained for all selected studies from published results for the minimum dataset to compute the difference between post- and pre-trial scores and their pooled standard deviation for NMDARM add-on therapy and placebo groups for negative, positive and total symptoms.

RESULTS: A negative standardized mean difference (SMD) indicates therapeutic benefit in favour of NMDARM add-on therapy and all SMD results mentioned here are statistically significant. The overall effect size for NMDARMs as a group was small for negative (SMD -0.27) and medium for total (SMD -0.40) symptoms of chronic schizophrenia. Subgroup analysis revealed medium effect sizes for D-serine and N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) for negative (SMD -0.53 and -0.45, respectively) and total (SMD -0.40 and -0.64, respectively) symptoms, and for glycine (SMD -0.66) and sarcosine (SMD -0.41) for total symptoms. As adjuvants to non-clozapine antipsychotics, additional therapeutic benefits were observed for NMDARM as a group (SMD -0.14) and glycine (SMD -0.54) for positive symptoms; D-serine (SMD -0.54), NAC (SMD -0.45) and sarcosine (SMD -0.39) for negative symptoms; and NMDARM as a group (SMD -0.38), D-serine (SMD -0.40), glycine (SMD -1.12), NAC (SMD -0.64) and sarcosine (SMD -0.53) for total symptoms. When added to clozapine, none of the drugs demonstrated therapeutic potential, while addition of glycine (SMD +0.56) worsened positive symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Taking into consideration the number of trials and sample size in subgroup analyses, D-serine, NAC and sarcosine as adjuncts to non-clozapine antipsychotics have therapeutic benefit in the treatment of negative and total symptoms of chronic schizophrenia. While glycine improves positive and total symptoms as an adjuvant to non-clozapine antipsychotics, it worsens them when added to clozapine.

CRD has determined that this article meets the DARE scientific quality criteria for a systematic review.

Copyright © 2014 University of York.

PMID: 21936588

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