A Randomized Clinical Trial of Oxytocin or Galantamine for the Treatment of Negative Symptoms and Cognitive Impairments in People With Schizophrenia

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Abstract

Purpose/Background

Negative symptoms and cognitive impairments tend to co-occur in people with schizophrenia. If their association with each other is due, in part, to shared pathophysiology, then this suggests that a single drug could potentially be effective for both domains. The current study was designed to examine this hypothesis.

Methods/Procedures

Fifty-eight participants with either Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder entered into a 6-week double-blind, placebo-controlled, double-dummy, randomized clinical trial of intranasal oxytocin and galantamine. Seventeen participants were randomized to intranasal oxytocin, 20 were randomized to galantamine, and 21 were randomized to placebo. The Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms total score was used to assess change in negative symptoms (the primary outcome measure for oxytocin). The MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery composite score was used to assess cognition (the primary outcome measure for galantamine).

Findings/Results

There were no significant group differences for negative symptoms (oxytocin vs placebo: F2,47.4 = 0.19, P = 0.83; galantamine vs placebo: F2,52.5 = 0.41, P = 0.67). There were no significant group differences for cognitive impairments (galantamine vs placebo: t40 = 0.71, P = 0.48; oxytocin vs placebo: t40 = 0.50, P = 0.62). There were also no significant group differences for the functional capacity or ancillary symptom measures.

Implications/Conclusions

The lack of an efficacy signal for either compound precluded our ability to test whether pharmacological treatment pathways for negative symptoms and cognitive impairments overlap or are independent.

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