Unaltered Dopamine Transporter Availability in Drug-Naive Patients With Schizophrenia After 6 Months of Antipsychotics Treatment: A Naturalistic Study

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Abstract

Background

Dopaminergic dysfunction, namely, dopamine transporter (DAT) availability variations in patients with drug-naive schizophrenia after long-term treatment, is still not well understood. The aims of the study were to explore (i) whether the DAT availability in patients with drug-naive schizophrenia differed after antipsychotic treatment and (ii) whether treatment with different generations of antipsychotics influenced the DAT availability after follow-up for 6 months.

Methods

Twenty-four first-episode, drug-naive patients with schizophrenia were divided into first- and second-generation antipsychotic groups naturalistically. After 6 months of follow-up, 7 patients who received first-generation antipsychotic treatment and 17 patients who received second-generation antipsychotic treatment completed the study. The patients underwent premedication and 6-month follow-up measurements using single-photon emission computed tomography with technetium Tc 99m (99mTc) TRODAT-1. Psychopathological evaluations and adverse effects were recorded using appropriate scales.

Results

Both of the treatment groups significantly improved according to Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale evaluation. However, no significant difference was noticed between the premedication and 6-month follow-up DAT scans. Nonsignificant differences existed even in the groups of different generations of antipsychotics.

Conclusions

Improvements in psychotic symptoms in patients with schizophrenia may not be influenced by DAT availability, even under treatment with different antipsychotics for a sufficient treatment period.

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