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Effects of the 5HT antagonist cyproheptadine on neuropsychological function in chronic schizophrenia.

Author(s): Chaudhry IB, Soni SD, Hellewell JS, Deakin JF

Affiliation(s): Rossendale Hospital, Haslingden Road, Rawtenstall BB4 6NE, UK.

Publication date & source: 2002-01-01, Schizophr Res., 53(1-2):17-24.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

This study tests the hypothesis that the ability of atypical neuroleptics to improve negative symptoms is due to 5HT-receptor antagonism and enhanced frontal lobe function. We investigated the effects of cyproheptadine (a 5HT2 antagonist) on neuropsychological tests of frontal lobe functions in chronic schizophrenic patients. Eighteen stable schizophrenic patients on depot neuroleptic medication participated in a 4-week double blind crossover study. Outcome measures were clinical symptoms rating scales, neuropsychological tests (verbal fluency, Stroop colour word task, trail making) and antisaccade eye movements. During the cyproheptadine phase statistically significant improvement was seen on Stroop colour word task, verbal fluency and Trail B tests. The ability to suppress reflexive eye movement to a target light in an anti saccade task was also significantly enhanced. The patients had low clinical ratings of negative symptoms and they were unaffected by cyproheptadine. The results indicate that 5HT2C receptors selectively modulate speed and motor control mechanisms related to frontal lobe functions but this was not associated with changes in symptoms.

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