Plasma homovanillic acid (pHVA) levels were measured and the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) scores were evaluated in 26 schizophrenic patients who had either never been medicated (neuroleptic-naive, first-episode subjects) or whose condition had become exacerbated following neuroleptic discontinuance (exacerbated subjects). All the subjects received medication with a fixed dose of a neuroleptic (haloperidol or fluphenazine, both 9 mg/day) for the first week and variable doses for the subsequent 4 weeks. In the neuroleptic-naive subjects, pHVA levels increased significantly 1 week after starting the protocol; this increase correlated significantly with clinical improvement of the BPRS positive symptom scores at week 5. In the neuroleptic-naive subjects, pHVA levels had declined to the baseline level by week 5. In the exacerbated subjects, there were no significant correlations between pHVA level changes at week 1 and later improvements of the BPRS positive symptom scores. These results suggest that the rise in pHVA levels occurring within 1 week after starting a fixed neuroleptic dose may predict a favorable clinical response in neuroleptic-naive schizophrenic patients.
Biological Psychiatry 12/1995; 38(10):639-48. DOI:10.1016/0006-3223(94)00383-1 · 9.47 Impact Factor