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Adjunctive Pregnenolone Ameliorates the Cognitive Deficits in Recent-Onset Schizophrenia: An 8-Week, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.

Clin Schizophr Relat Psychoses; 10(4): 201-210, Winter 2017.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24496044
PURPOSE: This study aimed to examine the effect of add-on treatment with the neurosteroid pregnenolone (PREG) on neurocognitive dysfunctions of patients with recent-onset schizophrenia (SZ) and schizoaffective disorder (SA). METHOD: Sixty out- and inpatients that met DSM-IV criteria for SZ/SA were randomized to an 8-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, 2-center trial. Participants received either pregnenolone (50 mg/d) or placebo added on to antipsychotic medications. Computerized Cambridge Automated Neuropsychological Test Battery measures were administered at baseline and after 4 and 8 weeks of treatment. ANOVA and paired t- or z-tests were applied to examine between- and within-group differences over time. RESULTS: Compared to placebo, adjunctive PREG significantly reduced the deficits in visual attention measured with the Matching to Sample Visual Search task (p=0.002), with moderate effect sizes (d=0.42). In addition, a significant improvement was observed from baseline to end-of-study with respect to the visual (p=0.008) and sustained attention (Rapid Visual Information Processing, p=0.038) deficits, and executive functions (Stockings of Cambridge, p=0.049; Spatial Working Memory, p<0.001) among patients receiving PREG but not among those receiving placebo (all p's>0.05). This beneficial effect of PREG was independent of the type of antipsychotic agents, gender, age, education, and illness duration. CONCLUSIONS: Pregnenolone augmentation demonstrated significant amelioration of the visual attention deficit in recent-onset SZ/SA. Long-term, large-scale studies are required to obtain greater statistical significance and more confident clinical generalization.