Yokukansan (TJ-54) for treatment of very-late-onset schizophrenia-like psychosis: An open-label study

Department of Psychiatry, Shimane University School of Medicine, Izumo, Japan. Electronic address: .
Phytomedicine: international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.13). 02/2013; 20(7). DOI: 10.1016/j.phymed.2013.01.007
Source: PubMed


Although schizophrenia affects all age groups, late or very-late-onset schizophrenia-like psychosis has not been well studied, and various treatment issues remain unresolved. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of yokukansan (TJ-54), Japanese herbal medicine, monotherapy in a diagnostically homogenous group of elderly patients without cognitive impairment suffering from very-late-onset schizophrenia.

Forty patients of mean age 73.1±4.8 years, fulfilling both the recent consensus criteria for very late-onset schizophrenia-like psychosis and the DSM-IV-TR criteria for schizophrenia, were assessed by the brief psychiatric rating scale, the clinical global impression scale-severity, and positive and negative syndrome scale at baseline and after 4 weeks administration of TJ-54 (2.5-7.5 g/day). In addition, abnormal movements were evaluated with the Simpson-Angus scale, Barnes Akathisia scale, and abnormal involuntary movement scale.

A highly significant (p<0.001) improvement on all measures of psychotic symptomatology was observed in all patients. TJ-54 was very well tolerated by the patients, and no clinically significant adverse effects were observed. Scores on all abnormal movement scales did not differ significantly prior to and after TJ-54 treatment.

Preliminary results indicate that TJ-54 appears to be an efficacious and safe herbal medicine for treatment of very-late-onset schizophrenia-like psychosis.

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    • "YKS has attracted attention in the field of psychiatry due to reports of its efficacy in patients with dementia.1–14 In addition, therapeutic effects of YKS have been reported in the treatment of sleep disorders,15,16 tardive dyskinesia,17 borderline personality disorder,18 and schizophrenia-related diseases.19,20 The claim of YKS’s effectiveness for such a wide variety of indications may produce skepticism toward Kampo medicine and possibly weaken its reputation, especially if YKS is ineffective or harmful because of improper usage. "
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    ABSTRACT: Japanese traditional herbal medicine (Kampo) has its origins in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It was introduced to Japan in the middle of the sixth century and has evolved over the past 1,400 years after combining with Japan's original folk remedies. While it retains some similarities to TCM, Kampo has evolved in Japan, resulting in a system of medicine that has many differences from TCM. Kampo medicine is considered to be very safe; in Japan, Kampo herbal formulas are manufactured by licensed pharmaceutical companies, prescribed by Western-trained medical doctors (usually as a freeze-dried extract), and have quality control standards similar to those of prescription drugs. The present study examined Yokukan-san (Yi-Gan San in TCM), a Kampo formula that has been used empirically in Japan for more than 400 years. Accumulating clinical trials have demonstrated Yokukan-san's efficacy in treating patients with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, which has resulted in the Japanese Society of Neurology listing it in the Japanese Guidelines for the Management of Dementia 2010. Efficacy in other diseases and conditions, such as sleep disorders, tardive dyskinesia, aggression, and impulsivity has also been reported. This article reviews both clinical and basic studies of Yokukan-san, with the goal of clarifying its clinical indications.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
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    ABSTRACT: Background Treating schizophrenia patients who fail to respond to antipsychotics is a major challenge, and the percentage of treatment-resistant patients is estimated to be 20–25 %. Recent studies indicate that yokukansan (YKS; D2 and 5HT1A partial agonist and 5HT2A and glutamate antagonist) to be safe and useful in treating behavioral and psychological symptoms associated with dementia and other neuropsychiatric conditions. We aimed at evaluating both the efficacy and safety of YKS in patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Methods This randomized, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted between May 2010 and August 2012. One hundred twenty antipsychotic-treated inpatients from 34 psychiatric hospitals in Japan were included. Patients were randomized to adjuvant treatment with YKS 7.5 g/day or placebo. During a 4-week follow-up, psychopathology was assessed using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) with five factors [excitement/hostility (P4, P7, G8, and G14), depression/anxiety (G1, G2, G3, G4, and G6), cognition (P2, N5, N7, G5, G10, G11, G12, G13, and G15], positive (P1, P3, P5, P6, and G9), and negative (N1, N2, N3, N4, N6, G7, and G16]]. Other assessments included, Clinical Global Impression—Severity (CGI-S), Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF), and Drug-Induced Extrapyramidal Symptoms Scale (DIEPSS). The primary efficacy outcome was the change in PANSS five-factor scores. The secondary outcomes were changes in the scores of CGI-S. The analysis was made on a modified intention to treat basis with the help of a last observation carried forward method. Results YKS showed a tendency of superiority to placebo in reducing total all PANSS five-factor scores in treatment-resistant schizophrenia, but the difference was not statistically significant in total, depression/anxiety, cognition, positive, and negative factors. However, compared to the placebo group, the YKS group showed statistically significant improvements in the PANSS excitement/hostility factor scores (p
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Psychopharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: We previously reported that the addition of orally administered yokukansan (YKS), a traditional Japanese herbal medicine, to the standard regimen using histamine H1-receptor inhibitors was effective in controlling refractory chronic urticaria, but the mechanism remained unknown. YKS has also been reported to be effective on inhibiting the development of atopic dermatitis-like skin lesions in NC/Nga mice. As known, the release of various chemical mediators including histamine from degranulated mast cells is strongly related to the mechanism of these diseases. Thus the purpose of this study was to examine the mechanisms behind the medicinal effects of YKS on mast cells using an in vitro system and rat basophil leukemia (RBL-2H3) cells. The degree of degranulation was measured by β-hexosaminidase secretion assay and intracellular calcium influx assay. ELISA for cytokines (TNF-α and IL-4) was also conducted using cell culture media. Furthermore, we investigated the effects of YKS on the expression of adhesion molecules (ICAM-1, VCAM-1, E-selectin) and cytokine production (IL-8) in human dermal microvascular endothelial cells using gene-transcriptional- and immunohisotoligical analysis. We found that YKS inhibited secretion of β-hexosaminidase, intracellular calcium increase, production of TNF-α and ICAM-1 expression, and that several YKS ingredients may be the key effectors. In conclusion, YKS may suppress several mast cell functions such as degranulation and calcium increase that eventually inhibits the release of proinflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, YKS suppresses ICAM-1 expression on human microvascular endothelial cells. These findings may promote our understanding of the beneficial effects of YKS on mast cell-associated allergic diseases.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · The Journal of Dermatology
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