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Saturday 25 August 2001

Double-blind olanzapine vs. haloperidol D2 dopamine receptor blockade in schizophrenic patients: a baseline-endpoint.

By: Bernardo M, Parellada E, Lomena F, Catafau AM, Font M, Gomez JC, Lopez-Carrero C, Gutierrez F, Pavia J, Salamero M.

Psychiatry Res 2001 Aug 25;107(2):87-97

The aim of this study was to compare in vivo striatal D2 dopamine receptor occupancy induced by olanzapine and haloperidol in schizophrenic patients using a baseline-endpoint [(123)I]IBZM single photon computed emission tomography (SPECT) design. The relationships of striatal D2 receptor occupancy with clinical efficacy and extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) were also assessed. Twenty-seven inpatients with schizophrenia or schizophreniform disorder were included in a 4-week prospective, randomized, double-blind, parallel and comparative clinical trial. Thirteen patients were treated with haloperidol (10 mg/day) and 14 with olanzapine (10 mg/day). Ratings of clinical status and EPS were obtained weekly. The percentage of D2 receptor occupancy was estimated by using basal ganglia (striatum)/frontal cortex IBZM uptake ratios obtained from each patient before and after 4 weeks of maintained antipsychotic treatment. Olanzapine led to a mean striatal D2 receptor occupancy of 49% (range 28-69%), which was significantly lower than that induced by haloperidol (mean 64%, range 46-90%). The baseline-endpoint SPECT design used in this study revealed lower antipsychotic D2 occupancy percentage values than those reported in the literature, using other approaches. The degree of striatal D2 receptor occupancy correlated to the EPS, which predominantly appeared in patients on haloperidol. No relationship was found between the striatal D2 receptor occupancy and clinical improvement. Olanzapine induced a lower striatal D2 occupancy than haloperidol. This low striatal D2 occupancy, together with the lower incidence of EPS in olanzapine-treated patients, contributed to confirm the atypical behavior of this new antipsychotic drug. Nevertheless, conclusions based on SPECT-estimated percentages of antipsychotic D2 occupancy should be cautious, since the SPECT design could influence the results. In this regard, SPECT studies including baseline and endpoint examinations should be encouraged.

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