α-Lipoic Acid as Adjunctive Treatment for Schizophrenia: An Open-Label Trial

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Abstract

Purpose/Background

Accumulating evidence suggests an involvement of oxidative stress in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. This offers a hypothesis-derived therapeutic approach to hinder oxidative damage and its clinical sequelae. α-Lipoic acid (ALA) is a powerful natural antioxidant indicated to treat diabetic neuropathy.

Methods/Procedures

In this pilot investigation, we administered ALA (100 mg/d) for 4 months, as an adjunct to antipsychotic medication, to 10 patients with schizophrenia.

Findings/Results

We found robust improvement in measures of psychopathology (63.9% reduction in Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale scores), neurocognitive parameters, extrapyramidal symptoms, and decreased lipid peroxidation.

Implications/Conclusions

If larger, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies confirm these preliminary findings, ALA could prove useful as adjunctive therapy for schizophrenia.

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