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A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of traditional Chinese medicine sarsasapogenin added to risperidone in patients with negative symptoms dominated schizophrenia.

Author(s): Xiao SF, Xue HB, Li X, Chen C, Li GJ, Yuan CM, Zhang MY.

Affiliation(s): Geriatric Psychiatry Department, Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, China. xiaoshifu@msn.com

Publication date & source: 2011, Neurosci Bull. , 27(4):258-68

OBJECTIVE To identify whether sarsasapogenin, a sapogenin from the Chinese medicinal herb Anemarrhena Asphodeloides Bunge, would augment the efficacy of risperidone and significantly improve cognitive functions in patients with negative symptoms dominated schizophrenia. METHODS The trial was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group design. The eligible patients were randomized into 2 treatment groups: sarsasapogenin group (sarsasapogenin plus risperidone for 8 weeks, n = 41) and placebo group (risperidone only for 8 weeks, n = 39). At the baseline, as well as at weeks 2, 4 and 8 of treatment, the therapeutic response was measured by using scales including Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale (PANSS), Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS), modified Chinese Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (mWAIS), Clinical Global Impression (CGI) and Brief Psychiatry Rating Scale (BPRS). The study period for each subject was 8 weeks and duration of overall trial was 2 years. RESULTS Patients treated with sarsasapogenin plus risperidone demonstrated no statistically significant differences in changes in PANSS, WMS or mWAIS score at the end-point of the trial compared with patients treated with placebo plus risperidone. The incidence of treatment-emergent adverse events in patients treated with sarsasapogenin was not different from that observed in placebo group. CONCLUSION Sarsasapogenin did not augment the efficacy of risperidone in treating negative symptoms dominated schizophrenia. Sarsasapogenin at a dosage of 200 mg per day added to a flexible dosage of risperidone at 2-4 mg per day is safe and well tolerated by patients with negative symptoms dominated schizophrenia.

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