Psychomotor, Cognitive, Extrapyramidal, and Affective Functions of Healthy Volunteers During Treatment With an Atypical (Amisulpride) and a Classic (Haloperidol) Antipsychotic

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The primary objective of this study was to compare the objective and subjective effects of amisulpride with those of a classic antipsychotic, haloperidol, when both were given to healthy volunteers in representative therapeutic doses over 5 days.The secondary objective was to compare the effects of relatively low and high doses of amisulpride to confirm the suspected duality of its pharmacologic activity. Twenty-one subjects participated in the four-way, randomized, double-blind, crossover study with repeated daily doses of amisulpride 50 mg, amisulpride 400 mg, haloperidol 4 mg, and placebo. Subjects were institutionalized during treatment periods and were under 24-hour medical supervision. They underwent a series of psychomotor and cognitive tests 1 hour before and 3 and 6 hours after dosing on days 1 and 5. Their extrapyramidal disturbances and drug-related feelings were assessed at the end of each replication. Psychiatric interviews and ratings of depression, subjective well-being, and negative symptoms occurred on day 4. Amisulpride 50 mg had no significant effect on any parameter. Amisulpride 400 mg had several adverse effects on psychomotor and, although less severe, on cognitive performance on the fifth day only. Amisulpride 400 mg produced no significant extrapyramidal disturbances in the group as a whole, although it may have in some individual subjects. Also, it produced no signs of mental disturbances on clinical rating scales or during a structured psychiatric interview. Haloperidol ubiquitously impaired psychomotor and cognitive performance in a similar fashion after the first and the final doses. It produced extrapyramidal disturbances in nearly every subject, the most common being akathisia and the most severe, in the case of one individual, being acute dystonia. Unlike amisulpride, haloperidol produced a number of mental disturbances, the most noteworthy being negative symptoms. Amisulpride seems to be a well-tolerated drug. Its side effects should be much less troublesome to patients using the drug on a long-term basis than those of classic antipsychotics, like haloperidol. (J Clin Psychopharmacol 1999;19:209-221)

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