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The effect of atypical antipsychotics on brain N-acetylaspartate levels in antipsychotic-naïve first-episode patients with schizophrenia: a preliminary study

Authors Grošić V, Folnegović Grošić P, Kalember P, Bajs Janović M, Radoš M, Mihanović M, Henigsberg N

Received 27 January 2014

Accepted for publication 26 March 2014

Published 7 July 2014 Volume 2014:10 Pages 1243—1253

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S61415

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Vladimir Grošić,1 Petra Folnegovic Grošić,2 Petra Kalember,3,4 Maja Bajs Janović,2 Marko Radoš,3,4 Mate Mihanović,1 Neven Henigsberg3,5

1Psychiatric Hospital Sveti Ivan, Zagreb, 2University Hospital Center Zagreb, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, 3Polyclinic Neuron, Croatian Institute for Brain Research, Zagreb, 4Department of Neuropharmacology and Behavioral Pharmacology, Croatian Institute for Brain Research, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, 5Vrapče University Hospital, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

Purpose: To investigate the correlates of a clinical therapeutic response by using the parameters measured by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy after the administration of atypical antipsychotics.
Patients and methods: Twenty-five antipsychotic-naïve first-episode patients with schizophrenia were monitored for 12 months. The patients were evaluated using 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, Clinical Global Impression Scale of Severity, Tower of London – Drexel University, Letter–Number Span Test, Trail Making Test A, and Personal and Social Performance Scale. They were administered atypical antipsychotics, starting with quetiapine. In the absence of a therapeutic response, another antipsychotic was introduced.
Results: After 12 study months, the N-acetylaspartate/creatine (NAA/Cr) level did not significantly change at the whole-group level. Additional analysis revealed a significant rise in the NAA/Cr level in the study group that stayed on the same antipsychotic throughout the study course (P=0.008) and a significant drop in NAA/Cr in the study group that switched antipsychotics (P=0.005). On the whole-group level, no significant correlations between NAA/Cr values and other scores were found at either baseline or after 12 study months.
Conclusion: One-year treatment with atypical antipsychotics administered to antipsychotic-naïve patients didn’t result in a significant rise in the NAA/Cr ratio. However, a significant rise was witnessed in the study group in which a satisfactory therapeutic response had been achieved with a single antipsychotic administration.

Keywords: schizophrenia, atypical antipsychotics, NAA, MRS

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