Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology

Published by Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
Online ISSN: 0271-0749
Publications
Article
The effects of alprazolam (0.125 mg) taken twice a day on several cognitive and performance tasks (Pictures test, Digit-Symbol Substitution Test, Choice Reaction Time [CRT], Critical Flicker Fusion [CFF]) were investigated in healthy students. A double-blind, independent group design was used to compare placebo with alprazolam (32 volunteers in each group). After random assignment, all subjects received placebo for 3 days (D) followed by 14 days of treatment with either alprazolam or placebo. Subjects completed a battery of tests at D0, D3, D7, D10, and D14. D3 performance was poorer in the alprazolam group except for CFF values (ascending values and total values), and the only significant improvement was in total reaction time on the CRT test. However, a significant improvement in performance (except in recognition reaction time) was shown at D7, D10, and D14 in the alprazolam group compared with the control group results. This study shows that repeated low doses of alprazolam produce small improvements in some aspects of psychomotor and cognitive functions. Training effect, tolerance effect, anxiolytic effect, and changes in receptor function and/or number are discussed to explain the performance improvement.
 
Article
PRX-00023, a serotonin 1A receptor agonist, was designed to provide high potency and selectivity for its target. To assess the possible therapeutic utility in anxiety, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in 311 subjects who met the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, for generalized anxiety disorder. All subjects underwent a 1-week placebo run-in and were randomized to receive once-daily capsules containing either PRX-00023 (80 mg/d) or placebo for an additional 8 weeks. The primary outcome measure was the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A). The Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale was used as a secondary endpoint to measure depressive symptoms. Statistical testing was performed with analysis of covariance, between baseline and week 8, with baseline values as a covariate. The anxiolytic effect of PRX-00023, compared with placebo, showed trends across all anxiolytic measures but failed to reach significance on the primary endpoint (HAM-A total score). Among the components of the HAM-A total score, the anxious mood item was significantly different from placebo in the PRX-00023-treated group (-1.015 vs -0.748; P = 0.02). The scores of the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale were significantly improved compared with placebo at week 8 (-4.5 vs -1.6; P = 0.0094 in the last observation carried forward analysis). PRX-00023 was well tolerated; of note, there were no drug-related serious adverse events, and more patients discontinued due to adverse events in the placebo group (2.9%) than in the PRX-00023 group (1.4%). The most common adverse event was headache, observed in 15.7% and 10.9% of PRX-00023- and placebo-treated patients, respectively. Furthermore, there was no evidence of impaired sexual function, as measured by the Massachusetts General Hospital Sexual Function Scale. Collectively, these results support further clinical investigation of higher doses of PRX-00023 in anxiety and depression.
 
Article
Converging lines of evidence suggest that the glutamatergic system may play an increasingly important role in the development of novel therapeutics for major depressive disorder (MDD), particularly agents associated with rapid antidepressant effects. Diverse glutamatergic modulators targeting N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors have shown efficacy in MDD, but their associated psychotomimetic effects presently preclude their use in larger samples. This small, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover pilot study evaluated the potential antidepressant efficacy and tolerability of an oral formulation of the selective N-methyl-D-aspartate NR2B antagonist MK-0657 in patients with treatment-resistant MDD (TRD). The TRD subjects underwent a 1-week drug-free period and were subsequently randomized to receive either MK-0657 monotherapy (4-8 mg/d) or placebo for 12 days. Because of recruitment challenges and the discontinuation of the compound's development by the manufacturer, only 5 of the planned 21 patients completed both periods of the crossover administration of MK-0657 and placebo. Significant antidepressant effects were observed as early as day 5 in patients receiving MK-0657 compared with those receiving placebo, as assessed by the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and Beck Depression Inventory; however, no improvement was noted when symptoms were assessed with the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale, the primary efficacy measure. No serious or dissociative adverse effects were observed in patients receiving this oral formulation of MK-0657. Despite the small sample size, this pilot study suggests that an oral formulation of the NR2B antagonist MK-0657 may have antidepressant properties in TRD patients. Further studies with larger sample sizes are necessary to confirm these preliminary findings.
 
Article
Selective 5-hydroxytryptamine-2A (5-HT2A) antagonism has been proposed as a mechanism of atypical antipsychotic drug action. MDL 100,907, a new selective 5-HT2A receptor antagonist, has high affinity in vitro for 5-HT2A receptors and is being developed as a potential antipsychotic drug. In this study, neocortical 5-HT2A receptor occupancy was measured in six healthy male volunteers after placebo and escalating single doses (1-72 mg) of MDL 100,907 using positron emission tomography and the nonspecific radioligand [11C]N-methylspiperone ([11C]NMSP). Receptor occupancy was calculated using a ratio-equilibrium analysis, assuming that maximal radioligand binding inhibition represents 100% 5-HT2A receptor occupancy. Plasma concentrations of MDL 100,907 were measured with high-pressure liquid chromatography. The pharmacokinetic parameters area under the curve and peak plasma concentration increased linearly with dose, with rapid absorption and a 6- to 9-hour elimination half-life. The neocortical binding of [11C]NMSP was inhibited dose-dependently. After administration of 6 mg of MDL 100,907 the inhibition was 70%, corresponding to a 5-HT2A receptor occupancy of 90%. The calculated maximal inhibition was 77%. These observations indicate that MDL 100,907 passes the blood-brain barrier and binds to 5-HT2A receptors in a saturable manner in the living human brain. Repeated doses of MDL 100,907, 10 mg/day or more, should induce a sustained 5-HT2A receptor occupancy in most patients. Thus, MDL 100,907 provides a suitable tool to evaluate the potential of selective 5-HT2A receptor antagonism in the treatment of schizophrenia.
 
Article
This randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study was the first to evaluate the antidepressant efficacy, safety, and tolerability of an NR2B subunit-selective N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist, CP-101,606. Subjects had major depression, according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria and a history of treatment refractoriness to least 1 adequate trial of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. The study had 2 treatment periods. In period 1, subjects first received a 6-week open-label trial of paroxetine and a single-blind, intravenous placebo infusion. Period 1 nonresponders (n = 30) then received a randomized double-blind single infusion of CP-101,606 or placebo plus continued treatment with paroxetine for up to an additional 4 weeks (period 2). Depression severity was assessed using the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale and 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. On the prespecified main outcome measure (change from baseline in the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale total score at day 5 of period 2), CP-101,606 produced a greater decrease than did placebo (mean difference, 8.6; 80% confidence interval, -12.3 to -4.5) (P < 0.10). Hamilton Depression Rating Scale response rate was 60% for CP-101,606 versus 20% for placebo. Seventy-eight percent of CP-101,606-treated responders maintained response status for at least 1 week after the infusion. CP-101,606 was safe, generally well tolerated, and capable of producing an antidepressant response without also producing a dissociative reaction. Antagonism of the NR2B subtype of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor may be a fruitful target for the development of a new antidepressant with more robust effects and a faster onset compared with those currently available and capable of working when existing antidepressants do not.
 
Article
After clinical response to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), 58 patients with major depressive disorder were followed for 1 year or until relapse. The rate of relapse was substantially higher in patients who had failed adequate antidepressant medication trials prior to ECT than in patients not determined to be medication resistant. Adequacy of post-ECT pharmacotherapy was only marginally related to likelihood of relapse. The subgroup of patients who appeared to benefit from adequate post-ECT pharmacotherapy were those who did not receive an adequate medication trial prior to ECT. The findings call into question the common practice of administering as continuation pharmacotherapy following ECT the same class of medications that patients had failed with during the acute episode prior to ECT. The findings also indicate that resistance to antidepressant medication is a strong predictor of relapse following response to ECT.
 
Article
Fifty-nine plasma thiothixene concentrations were measured in 42 patients as part of routine therapeutic drug monitoring. Data collection included concomitant medications, smoking history, and demographic variables. A retrospective analysis was performed to assess the effect of these parameters on oral thiothixene clearance. When groups of patients were categorized by concomitant medications (i.e., no interacting drugs, enzyme/clearance inducers, and enzyme/clearance inhibitors), thiothixene clearance was found to be significantly increased by enzyme inducing drugs (e.g., anticonvulsants) and decreased by clearance inhibiting agents (e.g., cimetidine). Tobacco smoking significantly increased the hepatic clearance of thiothixene within the no interactions and inhibitor groups, but not in the inducer group. Significantly more patients in the inducer group had nondetectable plasma concentrations of thiothixene than the other groups. When the entire patient population was dichotomized by age, patients less than 50 years old had a significantly greater mean clearance (48.2 +/- 37.8 liters/min) versus those greater than or equal to 50 (20.0 +/- 12.6 liters/min). Men in this cohort exhibited a significantly higher clearance (49.2 +/- 38.7 liters/min) than did the women (22.0 +/- 13.5 liters/min). By taking into account these potential sources of pharmacokinetic variability when monitoring plasma thiothixene concentrations, more appropriate dosing of thiothixene may be achieved. Controlled, prospective studies are needed to validate these findings.
 
Article
We examined the relationship between antipsychotic-associated mental side effects and dopamine D2 receptor occupancy in striatal subdivisions using high-resolution positron emission tomography with [11C]raclopride to better characterize the neurochemical mechanism underlying these adverse effects. Twenty-one patients with schizophrenia receiving stable doses of antipsychotics and 24 age- and sex-matched healthy controls completed 3-Tesla magnetic resonance imaging and high-resolution positron emission tomography scans with [11C]raclopride to measure D2 receptor binding potential (BP ND) in the striatum. The D2 receptor BP ND was obtained using a Logan plot, and receptor occupancy was calculated as the percentage reduction of receptor BP ND with drug treatment relative to baseline. The data obtained from age- and sex-matched healthy controls were used as an estimate of the patients' baseline, as previously proposed. Antipsychotic-associated mental side effects were measured with the Liverpool University Neuroleptic Side Effect Rating Scale. The whole striatal D2 receptor occupancy ranged from 54% to 95%. The analysis revealed that the Liverpool University Neuroleptic Side Effect Rating Scale score had significant positive associations with D2 occupancy in the precommissural dorsal caudate, postcommissural caudate, and ventral striatum. The results suggest that mental side effects of antipsychotics are associated with D2 receptor blockade in the associative and limbic subdivisions of the striatum, which are considered to play a crucial role in cognition and reward motivation.
 
Article
The purpose of this study was to assess the anxiolytic effect of MDL 11,939, a selective 5-HT2 receptor antagonist, in patients with generalized anxiety disorder. After a 1-week placebo lead-in period, 72 healthy male outpatients meeting DSM-III-R criteria for generalized anxiety disorder were randomized to MDL 11,939, 32 mg thrice daily (N = 37), or placebo (N = 35) for 6 weeks. At the end of treatment, MDL 11,939 showed a 7.2-point (30%) decrease in Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety scores compared with a 5.7-point (23%) decrease with placebo, but the difference was not significant (p > 0.05). The incidence of adverse events between treatments was similar. MDL 11,939 was well tolerated but did not demonstrate significant anxiolytic effects in this pilot study.
 
Article
The inhibition of cerebral monoamine oxidases (MAOs) by cigarette smoke components could participate to the tobacco addiction. However, the actual extent of this inhibition in vivo in smokers is still poorly known. We investigated cerebral MAO-A availability in 7 tobacco-dependent subjects and 6 healthy nonsmokers, using positron emission tomography (PET) and the MAO-A selective radioligand [C]befloxatone. In comparison to nonsmokers, smokers showed a significant overall reduction of [C]befloxatone binding potential (BP) in cortical areas (average reduction, -60%) and a similar trend in caudate and thalamus (-40%). Our findings confirm a widespread inhibition of cerebral MAO-A in smokers. This mechanism may contribute to tobacco addiction and for a possible mood-modulating effect of tobacco.
 
Article
Blonanserin is a novel antipsychotic with high affinities for dopamine D2 and 5-HT2A receptors, and it was recently approved for the treatment of schizophrenia in Japan and Korea. Although double-blind clinical trials have demonstrated that blonanserin has equal efficacy to risperidone, and with a better profile especially with respect to prolactin elevation, its profile of in vivo receptor binding has not been investigated in patients with schizophrenia. Using positron emission tomography (PET), we measured striatal and extrastriatal dopamine D2 receptor occupancy by blonanserin in 15 patients with schizophrenia treated with fixed doses of blonanserin (ie, 8, 16, and 24 mg/d) for at least 4 weeks before PET scans, and in 15 healthy volunteers. Two PET scans, 1 with [C]raclopride for the striatum and 1 with [C]FLB 457 for the temporal cortex and pituitary, were performed on the same day. Striatal dopamine D2 receptor occupancy by blonanserin was 60.8% (3.0%) [mean (SD)] at 8 mg, 73.4% (4.9%) at 16 mg, and 79.7% (2.3%) at 24 mg. The brain/plasma concentration ratio calculated from D2 receptor occupancy in the temporal cortex and pituitary was 3.38, indicating good blood-brain barrier permeability. This was the first study to show clinical daily dose amounts of blonanserin occupying dopamine D2 receptors in patients with schizophrenia. The clinical implications obtained in this study were the optimal therapeutic dose range of 12.9 to 22.1 mg/d of blonanserin required for 70% to 80% dopamine D2 receptor occupancy in the striatum, and the good blood-brain barrier permeability that suggested a relatively lower risk of hyperprolactinemia.
 
Article
Quetiapine is often prescribed at doses higher than those approved by regulatory authorities, with limited evidence from controlled trials. The objective of this study was to assess the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of high-dose quetiapine (1200 mg/d) compared with a standard dose of 600 mg/d among patients with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder hospitalized at 2 state-operated psychiatric facilities. In order to be eligible for randomization, subjects were required to prospectively fail to demonstrate an initial therapeutic response during a 4-week run-in phase with quetiapine at 600 mg/d (immediate release and dosed twice a day). Lack of an adequate initial response was defined a 15% or lower decrease in the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale total score. Patients were then randomized to either continue quetiapine at 600 mg/d for an additional 8 weeks or to receive 1200 mg/d quetiapine instead. No significant differences were observed between the high dose (n = 29) and standard dose (n = 31) groups in change from baseline to endpoint on extrapyramidal symptoms, electrocardiographic changes, or most laboratory measures between groups. There was a significant difference between groups for triglycerides (P = 0.035), and post hoc tests revealed a decrease in triglycerides from baseline (mean [SD], 162.7 [59.3] mg/dL) to endpoint (mean [SD], 134.8 [62.7] mg/dL) for the 600 mg/d group (P = 0.019). The mean change in the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale total score did not differ between groups. In conclusion, quetiapine at 1200 mg/d, although reasonably tolerated, did not confer any advantages over quetiapine at 600 mg/d among patients who had failed to demonstrate an adequate response to a prospective 4-week trial of 600 mg/d.
 
Article
Selective action at limbic cortical dopamine D2-like receptors is a putative mechanism of atypical antipsychotic efficacy with few extrapyramidal side effects. Although risperidone is an atypical antipsychotic with high affinity for D2 receptors, low-dose risperidone treatment is effective without inducing extrapyramidal symptoms. The objective was to test the hypothesis that treatment with low-dose risperidone results in 'limbic selective' D2/D3 receptor blockade in vivo. Dynamic single photon emission tomography (SPET) sequences were obtained over 5 hours after injection of [123I]-epidepride (approximately 150 MBq), using a high-resolution triple-headed brain scanner (Marconi Prism 3000XP). Kinetic modelling was performed using the simplified reference region model to obtain binding potential values. Estimates of receptor occupancy were made relative to a normal volunteer control group (n = 5). Six patients treated with low-dose risperidone (mean = 2.6 mg) showed moderate levels of D2/D3 occupancy in striatum (49.9%), but higher levels of D2/D3 occupancy in thalamus (70.8%) and temporal cortex (75.2%). Occupancy values in striatum were significantly different from thalamus (F (1,4) = 26.3, p < 0.01) and from temporal cortex (F (1,4) = 53.4, p < 0.01). This is the first study to evaluate striatal and extrastriatal occupancy of risperidone. Low dose treatment with risperidone achieves a similar selectivity of limbic cortical over striatal D2/D3 receptor blockade to that of atypical antipsychotics with lower D2/D3 affinity such as clozapine, olanzapine and quetiapine. This finding is consistent with the relevance of 'limbic selective' D2/D3 receptor occupancy to the therapeutic efficacy of atypical antipsychotic drugs.
 
Article
Both positron emission tomography and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) studies suggest that saturation of serotonin transporters (SERT) is present during treatment with therapeutic doses of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors also appear to increase the availability of dopamine transporters (DAT). The current study measured SERT occupancy and modulation of DAT by the serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) venlafaxine using [123I]2beta-carbomethoxy-3beta-(4-iodophenyl)-tropane SPECT. Eight healthy subjects were administered open-label venlafaxine extended release capsules (75 mg/d for 4 days followed by 150 mg/d for 5 days). Venlafaxine significantly inhibited [123I]beta-CIT binding to SERT in the brainstem (55.4%) and the diencephalon (54.1%). In contrast, venlafaxine increased [123I]beta-CIT binding to DAT in the striatum (10.1%) after 5 days of administration of 150 mg/d. The displacement of [123I]beta-CIT from brain SERT and the increase in striatal [123I]beta-CIT binding to DAT appear similar to previous work with the SSRI citalopram (40 mg/d). A literature review of SERT occupancy by marketed SSRIs and the SNRI venlafaxine using SPECT ([123I]beta-CIT) or positron emission tomography ([11C](N, N-Dimethyl-2-(2-amino-4-cyanophenylthio)-benzylamine) imaging suggests that therapeutic doses of SNRI are associated with virtual saturation of the serotonin transporter.
 
Article
The prevalence of the metabolic syndrome is increased in patients with schizophrenia compared with the general population. The strong interindividual differences in susceptibility to developing the metabolic syndrome suggests that the genetic makeup is a modulating factor. Part of the genetic puzzle can possibly be explained by variations in the gene coding for the adrenergic α-2a receptor (ADRA2A) because this receptor plays an important role in lipolysis. Three studies have found an association between the α-2a 1291-C/G polymorphism and antipsychotic induced weight gain, with conflicting results between whites and Asians. No studies have been published investigating the association between the 1291-C/G polymorphism and the metabolic syndrome. The primary objective of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the association between the ADRA2A 1291-C/G polymorphism and the metabolic syndrome in 470 patients using antipsychotic drugs. There was no significant association between carriership of the variant 1291-G allele and prevalence of the metabolic syndrome (odds ratio, 0.73; 95% confidence interval, 0.49-1.15). Exploratory analysis showed an association between carriership of the variant 1291-G allele and a reduced prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in patients not currently using antipsychotics (odds ratio, 0.05; 95% confidence interval, 0.003-0.97; P = 0.048). In conclusion, this study shows that the ADRA2A 1291-C/G polymorphism does not seem to be a strong predictor for long-term occurrence of the metabolic syndrome in antipsychotic using patients. Studies investigating this association using a prospective, or retrospective, design, as well as studies investigating this association in a nonpsychiatric population, are warranted.
 
Efficacy Measures in PD Patients with or without Agoraphobia who Completed the Study (n = 26) (mean ± SD)
Article
The purpose of our study was to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of low-dose olanzapine augmentation in selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)-resistant panic disorder (PD) with or without agoraphobia. In this 12-week, open-label study, 31 adult outpatients with treatment-resistant PD who had previously failed to respond to SSRI treatment were treated with fixed dose of olanzapine (5 mg/d) in addition to SSRI. Efficacy was assessed using the Panic Attack and Anticipatory Anxiety Scale (PAAAS), the Agoraphobic Cognitions Questionnaire (ACQ), the Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety (HAM-A), the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D), the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (GAF), and the Clinical Global Impression of Improvement (CGI-I). Twenty-six patients completed the trial period with a dropout rate of 16.1%. At week 12, 21 patients were responders (81.8%), and an overall improvement on all rating scales was observed in all patients both with or without agoraphobia. Fifteen patients (57.7%) achieved remission. Olanzapine was well tolerated and the most frequent adverse effects were mild-to-moderate weight gain and drowsiness. No extrapyramidal symptoms were reported. Olanzapine appears to be effective as augmentation strategy in the treatment of SSRI-resistant PD, but study limitations must be considered and placebo-controlled studies are needed.
 
Article
Features of bipolarity in a major depressive disorder sample were used to define a "bipolar spectrum disorder" population for treatment with a neuroleptic agent, ziprasidone. Forty-nine acutely depressed patients were randomized to ziprasidone-washout-placebo or placebo-washout-ziprasidone in this double-blind, prospective, 13-week crossover trial. All patients met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, criteria for a major depressive episode and were positive for at least 3 predictors of bipolarity: family history of bipolar disorder, antidepressant-induced mania, highly recurrent depressive episodes (>5), atypical depression, early onset of depression (<age 20), failure to respond to antidepressants or antidepressant tolerance. The most common bipolarity inclusion criteria were antidepressant tolerance and nonresponse, and atypical depression. Approximately 52% received ziprasidone in monotherapy, 48% as adjunct to antidepressants. There was a small statistically nonsignificant benefit with ziprasidone compared with placebo on Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale change [-1.5 (p = 0.48)]. Statistical carryover effects were observed. Ziprasidone, alone or added to antidepressants, was not more effective than placebo in this population. A false-negative finding due to the crossover design is suggested by statistical carryover effects. Alternatively, this definition of bipolar spectrum illness may have been too nonspecific to show neuroleptic benefit, unlike other definitions, like "mixed depression." Also, this study did not test potential neuroleptic efficacy without the potentially mood-destabilizing effects of antidepressants.
 
Article
Several candidate genes have been associated with antipsychotic-induced body weight (BW) gain. Because the endocannabinoid system is deeply involved in BW regulation, endocannabinoid genes may have a role in the antipsychotic-induced weight gain. Therefore, we investigated the 1359 G/A (rs1049353) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) of the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CNR1) gene, which codes the endocannabinoid CB1 receptor, and the complementary DNA (cDNA) 385C/A (rs324420) SNP of the FAAH gene, which codes the endocannabinoid degrading enzyme, for their role in BW changes induced by antipsychotic drugs. Eighty-three white psychotic patients who underwent a naturalistic treatment with different antipsychotics (clozapine, olanzapine, risperidone, quetiapine, and haloperidol) and completed a 24-week treatment period were included into the study together with 80 age- and sex-matched white healthy controls. At the 24th week of treatment, 41 patients gained more than 7% of their baseline BW. No significant differences between patients and controls emerged in genotype and allele frequencies of both SNPs. Genotype and allele frequencies of the FAAH cDNA 385C/A SNP but not of the CNR1 1359 G/A SNP significantly differed between subjects who gained more than 7% of BW and those who did not, with both AC and AA genotypes and the A allele being significantly more frequent in patients who gained more than 7% of their baseline BW. Present findings, although obtained in a small population and in a naturalistic setting, suggest that the cDNA 385C/A SNP of the FAAH gene may predispose subjects to get a clinically meaningful weight gain after antipsychotic exposure.
 
Article
This article contains the sleep results of the efficacy study of flurazepam 30 mg and 15 mg, midazolam 15 mg, and placebo in the 99 chronic insomniacs studied as part of this multicenter study. After a 20-day drug washout, all-night sleep was recorded on 2 baseline nights, on the first 2 treatment nights, on treatment night 7, and on the last 2 nights of the study (nights 13 and 14). To reduce the number of comparisons, electroencephalographic (EEG) sleep latency, EEG wake time, EEG sleep efficiency, post-sleep questionnaire (PSQ) sleep latency, and PSQ total sleep were preselected as the major sleep variables. Between-groups comparisons indicated that, when compared with the placebo control, all drugs improved sleep, but differences were statistically significant only for the first 2 nights, i.e., the early interval. Midazolam was more effective than either dose level of flurazepam on treatment night 1. Within-group analyses indicated that all drug groups showed significantly improved sleep from baseline throughout drug administration, but the placebo group did not significantly improve from baseline by either objective or subjective measures at any of the three time intervals. The sleep of patients taking flurazepam 30 mg did not differ significantly from the sleep of those receiving the 15 mg dose for any of the five major sleep variables at any interval. Objective EEG and subjective PSQ sleep variables showed significant positive correlations.
 
Article
The Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) is an 18-item rating scale frequently used to assess change in psychopathology in schizophrenic patients in antipsychotic drug trials. BPRS items may be rated by the use of either a 1 to 7 or 0 to 6 scaling system, with the 1 or 0 rating indicating no pathology, respectively. When percent change in BPRS total score is used as an index of change, measurement considerations indicate that the 0 to 6 scaling system is preferable. Furthermore, when the 1 to 7 scaling system is used, patients whose initial BPRS values fall at the lower end of the range are classified as responders at a lower rate than are patients with higher initial scores. The adoption of the 0 to 6 scaling system for the BPRS and other rating scales, such as the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, is advocated.
 
Article
Olanzapine is an atypical antipsychotic that is effective in the treatment of schizophrenia. Olanzapine plasma concentrations > or = 9.3 ng/mL (24 hours postdose) have been identified as a predictor of clinical response in acutely ill patients with schizophrenia. The authors report a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis of 12-hour olanzapine concentrations and treatment response from the North American Double-Blind Olanzapine Trial. After a 4- to 7-day placebo lead-in, patients meeting DSM-III-R criteria for schizophrenia were randomly assigned to receive olanzapine, haloperidol, or placebo. Patients who were randomly assigned to receive olanzapine were given daily doses ranging from 2.5 to 17.5 mg/day for up to 6 weeks. Blood samples for the determination of olanzapine plasma concentrations were obtained between 10 and 16 hours (11.7 +/- 1.7 hours) after the last dose was administered. Therapeutic response data and olanzapine concentrations used for analysis were obtained from the endpoint visit for each patient if the patient had been receiving a fixed olanzapine dose for at least the last 2 weeks of the study. Plasma concentrations from previous visits were used if endpoint concentrations were invalid. Response was defined as a > or = 20% reduction in Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) scores and a Clinical Global Impression (CGI) Severity scale score of < or = 3 or a final BPRS score of < or = 35. The final ROC analysis included data from 84 patients and suggested an olanzapine concentration > or = 23.2 ng/mL to be a predictor of therapeutic response. Fifty-two percent of patients with 12-hour olanzapine concentrations > or = 23.2 ng/mL responded, whereas only 25% of patients with concentrations < 23.2 ng/mL responded. Furthermore, an olanzapine concentration > or = 23.2 ng/mL was a predictor of response in the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (> or = 20% decrease and endpoint CGI < or = 3). Olanzapine concentrations were found to be a function of olanzapine dose (in milligrams per day) and gender such that prospective olanzapine dosing is feasible. A 12-hour olanzapine plasma concentration of > 23.2 ng/mL was a predictor of therapeutic response in acutely ill patients with schizophrenia. Males required a higher olanzapine dose to reach this threshold concentration than their female counterparts.
 
Article
Methods are described for a five-center study of flurazepam and midazolam, in which 107 patients with histories of benzodiazepine use for chronic insomnia were enrolled. Data were available for 99 of these patients. Staff and patient manuals and a behavior-based computer system were specially designed to measure and delineate clearly the study procedures and parameters. Patients were carefully followed and supported during a 20-day washout period and underwent extensive training on psychomotor performance tasks. They received placebo for 2 nights and were then randomly assigned to one of four study treatments--flurazepam 15 or 30 mg, midazolam 15 mg, or placebo--for 14 consecutive nights. All-night sleep electroencephalographic recordings were obtained on study nights--1 and 0 (placebo) and 1, 2, 7, 13, and 14 (treatment nights). Results of four computer-generated psychomotor performance tasks and three cognitive tasks, plus subjective evaluations of sleep, performance, and mood, were recorded in the morning after each night spent in the sleep laboratory. Blood and urine samples were analyzed for drug concentrations in plasma and for compliance with the protocol. A pilot study, using a high (nonclinical) dose of flurazepam (45 mg), preceded the multi-center study and was designed to evaluate tests in healthy volunteers and to familiarize staff with equipment and tests.
 
Article
Blood samples were drawn from each of 99 chronic insomniacs twice during washout (days -20 and -6) and six times during the study (mornings after study nights -1, 1, 2, 7, 13, and 14) to examine the relationship between morning-after drug plasma levels, sleep efficiency, next-day mood, and performance. Patients in the four treatment groups received either flurazepam 30 mg, flurazepam 15 mg, midazolam 15 mg, or placebo. Plasma drug concentrations of N-desalkylflurazepam and midazolam were measured by electron-capture gas chromatography. Values of midazolam during the 14-day study were at or near the sensitivity limit of the assay and were not used in the calculations. Levels of N-desalkylflurazepam increased as expected during the 14 days. Mean level for the high-dose flurazepam group was approximately twice that of the low-dose group. The main consistency in the correlations, which were found on days 13 and 14, was that the high-dose desalkylflurazepam concentrations had a negative correlation with two independent measures of sleep latency. However, otherwise there was little or no relationship between N-desalkylflurazepam levels and sleep efficiency or next-day behavior. Issues of tolerance, individual variability in baseline and response, and their contribution to the findings are discussed.
 
Article
A review of the published literature reveals many unanswered questions regarding the effects of sedative-hypnotics on sleep, performance, and mood. The relationship between plasma half-life and hypnotic efficacy is also not clear. A randomized, double-blind, parallel-groups, multicenter study was designed to examine sleep, performance, and mood in patients with insomnia. A large, heterogeneous sample of patients with a history of benzodiazepine use for chronic insomnia was chosen to reflect the adult population for which sedative-hypnotics are often prescribed and to ensure statistical reliability. Although the major focus of the current study was on the effects of two benzodiazepine hypnotics on performance, this study also provided information on the following important issues: (1) effect of dose level; (2) short-versus long-term administration; and (3) significance of plasma half-life as it relates to hypnotic efficacy.
 
Article
Multiple lines of evidence suggest that the endocannabinoid system is implicated in the development of alcohol dependence. In addition, in animal models, the cannabinoid receptor 1 blocker rimonabant was found to decrease alcohol consumption, possibly by indirect modulation of dopaminergic neurotransmission. This was a 12-week double-blind, placebo-controlled, proof-of-concept study to assess the possible efficacy of the cannabinoid receptor 1 antagonist rimonabant 20 mg/d (2 x 10 mg) in the prevention of relapse to alcohol in recently detoxified alcohol-dependent patients. A total of 260 patients were included, 258 were exposed to medication, and 208 (80.6%) were men. Patients had an alcohol history of 15 years on average. More patients in the rimonabant group (94/131 [71.8%]) completed treatment compared with the placebo group (79/127 [62.2%]). Although there was a modest effect of rimonabant with respect to relapse rate, there were no statistically significant differences between treatment groups. Approximately 41.5% of the rimonabant group had relapsed to drinking at the end of the study compared with 47.7% of the placebo group (obtained from Kaplan-Meier-curve). Differences were more marked but not statistically significant in patients who relapsed to heavy drinking: 27.7% versus 35.6%, respectively. Safety and tolerance of the drug were good. Similar rates of adverse events were reported between the 2 groups; less patients experienced serious events or discontinued the treatment with rimonabant compared with placebo. Rates of depression-related events were low (3.8% with rimonabant compared with 1.6% with placebo). Patients on rimonabant lost weight (Mean, -1.7 kg) compared with baseline, whereas there was no such change in the placebo group. Weight loss was more pronounced in patients with a higher body mass index. In addition, there was a significant decrease in leptin levels in the rimonabant group compared with baseline. Lack of efficacy in this study may be explained by a very high response rate in the placebo group and a relatively short treatment duration. Taking the substantial numbers of animal studies suggesting a possible role of CB1 antagonists for the treatment of alcohol dependence into account, it seems worthwhile to further test cannabinoid blockers in the treatment of alcoholism.
 
Article
Four skills performance (psychomotor) tasks, including simple and choice reaction time, divided attention, and vigilance, were given to 99 chronic insomniacs to determine whether the use of midazolam 15 mg, or of flurazepam 15 or 30 mg, compared with placebo would produce next-day impairment throughout a 14-day treatment period. Tests were administered during 2 baseline days and on treatment days 1 and 2 (early interval), 7 (middle interval) and 13 and 14 (late interval). Compared with placebo, performance on all four tasks was impaired by flurazepam 30 mg. The deficits associated with flurazepam 15 mg were roughly half the magnitude of those produced by flurazepam 30 mg, but these changes did not reach statistical significance for single response measures at single time intervals. Midazolam showed no consistent pattern of performance effects; however, for divided attention tracking error, there was a significant decrement. The placebo group showed flat performance curves or improved performance as a result of learning (practice effect).
 
Article
One hundred seven chronic insomniacs (41 men, 66 women; mean age, 37.9 years) with a history of use of benzodiazepines were recruited for a multicenter study testing the relative efficacy of flurazepam 15 mg or 30 mg, midazolam 15 mg, or placebo during a 14-day treatment period. Average duration of the complaint of insomnia was 13.5 years. Most (74%) of the patients met criteria for a diagnosis of persistent psychophysiological sleep disorder for both initiating and maintaining sleep.
 
Article
Data from evening questionnaires, reports of side effects, laboratory findings, and all-night respiratory measurements were collected on the 99 chronic insomniacs examined in this multicenter study. These data were used to compare the clinical safety and desirability of a benzodiazepine hypnotic with a very short half-life, midazolam 15 mg, with a hypnotic with a longer half-life, flurazepam 15 and 30 mg; both compounds were compared with a placebo control. There were 2 prestudy placebo nights followed by 14 consecutive nights of treatment. Of the 107 patients accepted, 99 completed the study. No marked adverse reactions were found in any area for any group. There was no increase in sleep apneas during the treatment period for any group. Results of this study provide additional evidence of the safety of benzodiazepine hypnotics.
 
Article
The 99 chronic insomniacs examined in the present multicenter study were given three cognitive tasks (reading comprehension, addition, and digit symbol substitution test [DSST]) as well as the Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL) and the Profile of Mood States (POMS) in order to evaluate the effects of flurazepam (Dalmane) 15 and 30 mg, midazolam 15 mg, and placebo on cognitive performance and mood. Subjective evaluation of performance was also obtained. A significant person in the patient's life was also asked to evaluate the patient's mood before and during the 14-day treatment interval. After a 20-day washout, next-day performance and mood were evaluated after placebo nights -1 and 0 (baseline) and after treatment nights 1, 2 (early interval), 7 (middle interval), and 13 and 14 (late interval). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) on changes from baseline indicated no significant between-groups treatment effects for reading comprehension or any of the mood variables at any interval. Patients on flurazepam 30 mg performed less well compared with other groups even though, after completion of the tasks, this group believed that they performed as well as those on the other regimens. Performances by flurazepam 15 mg, midazolam, and placebo groups were similar. Significant others tended to rate high-dose flurazepam patients more negatively. High-dose flurazepam patients had a significant change on the DSST and addition tasks due to treatment after the first night, and change in performance remained significantly impaired for the DSST task relative to that of the other groups thereafter.
 
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Pregabalin is a new anxiolytic that acts as a presynaptic inhibitor of the release of excessive levels of excitatory neurotransmitters by selectively binding to the alpha2-delta subunit of voltage-gated calcium channels. The current study evaluated the anxiolytic efficacy of BID versus TID dosing of pregabalin in patients with generalized anxiety disorder. Outpatients with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition generalized anxiety disorder and having baseline Hamilton Anxiety (HAM-A) total scores > or =20 were randomized to 6 weeks of double-blind treatment with pregabalin 200 mg/d (BID; N = 78), 400 mg/d (BID; N = 89), or 450 mg/d (TID; N = 88) or placebo (N = 86). Mean improvement in HAM-A total score at last observation carried forward end point was significantly greater on pregabalin 200 (P = 0.006), 400 (P = 0.001), and 450 mg/d (P = 0.005) compared with placebo. Pairwise comparisons of BID versus TID dosing found no difference in HAM-A change score at end point. All 3 pregabalin dosage groups showed significantly greater efficacy versus placebo at end point on the HAM-A psychic and somatic anxiety factor scores. Improvement on both factors was rapid: significance versus placebo was achieved as early as the first assessment at week 1, with > or =30% reduction in HAM-A severity and equal or greater improvement for every subsequent visit in > or =38% of patients in all 3 pregabalin dosage groups (P < or = 0.001). Pregabalin was well tolerated, and despite the fixed-dose study design, discontinuations caused by adverse events ranged from 9% to 13%--comparable with that observed with placebo (8%). This study demonstrates that pregabalin is an effective treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, with BID dosing showing similar efficacy and comparable tolerability with TID dosing.
 
Article
Motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) are a leading cause of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the general population. Alterations in norepinephrine and serotonin systems have been proposed as mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of the condition, with treatment directed at these neurotransmitter systems. Reboxetine, a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, exhibits high affinity and selectivity for the human norepinephrine transporter. Inasmuch as PTSD may be associated with dysregulation of noradrenergic activity, the present double-blind randomized clinical trial intended to evaluate reboxetine's efficacy in the management of MVA-related PTSD and to compare its efficacy with a medication commonly used in PTSD, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluvoxamine. Forty patients with MVA-related PTSD attending a local community mental health outpatient clinic were randomized to receive a fixed dose of either reboxetine (8 mg/d) or fluvoxamine (150 mg/d) in a double-blind fashion for a period of 8 weeks. At baseline and at study end point, the 2 subgroups demonstrated no statistical differences in scores on PTSD, depression, and anxiety rating scales. Both medications led to significant improvements in all clinical scales measured. Nine patients receiving reboxetine and 3 receiving fluvoxamine withdrew from the study because of side effects. Study observations indicate comparable efficacy of reboxetine and fluvoxamine in the management of MVA-related PTSD despite reboxetine's selective noradrenergic activity. Reboxetine appears to be at least as effective as fluvoxamine and may offer an alternative management option in this often difficult-to-treat and disabling condition. A lower and flexible reboxetine dosing schedule will be recommended for future research to improve its tolerability in PTSD patients.
 
Article
The study presented here compared the acute performance-impairing, subject-rated, and observer-rated effects of quazepam (15, 30, and 45 mg), triazolam (0.1875, 0.375, and 0.5625 mg), zolpidem (7.5, 15, and 22.5 mg), and placebo in nine healthy, non-drug-abusing humans. Quazepam, a trifluoroethylbenzodiazepine, was chosen for study because, when compared with triazolam, a triazolobenzodiazepine, it is a relatively weak benzodiazepine-receptor ligand, and it may bind selectively to the BZ1 benzodiazepine-receptor subtype. Zolpidem, an imidazopyridine, is the most commonly prescribed hypnotic and was chosen for study because it is biochemically distinct from benzodiazepine hypnotics and also purportedly binds selectively to the BZ1 benzodiazepine-receptor subtype. Triazolam was chosen as the reference compound because it binds nonselectively to BZ1 and BZ2 benzodiazepine-receptor subtypes. Triazolam, zolpidem, quazepam, and placebo were administered orally in a double-blind, crossover design. Triazolam and zolpidem produced orderly dose- and time-related impairment of learning, performance, and recall, and produced sedative-like subject- and observer-rated drug effects. The behavioral pharmacologic profile of zolpidem and triazolam was indistinguishable in that at peak effect, the absolute magnitude of drug effect was comparable across the various measures. Quazepam, by contrast, did not impair performance on any task to a statistically significant degree, nor did it produce significant sedation as measured by subject- and observer-rated drug-effect questionnaires. Whether these effects are a result of the unique benzodiazepine-receptor binding profile of quazepam or the testing of insufficient dosages is unknown. Future research could extend the findings presented here by testing higher dosages of quazepam.
 
Top-cited authors
Pr Guy Chouinard
  • Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology Program, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University Health Center, McGill University, Canada
Richard Shader
  • Tufts University
Jonathan Davidson
  • Duke University Medical Center
Michael E Thase
  • University of Pennsylvania
Arif Khan
  • Duke University Medical Center