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A Clinical Trial of Adjuvant Allopurinol Therapy for Moderately Refractory Schizophrenia

J Clin Psychiatry 2005;66(2):213-219
Objective: To evaluate the xanthine oxidase inhibitor allopurinol as an adjuvant treatment for patients with moderately refractory schizophrenia, with the objective of increasing the endogenous pool of purines, including the neuromodulator adenosine.

Method: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover clinical trial of add-on allopurinol (300 mg b.i.d.) for poorly responsive schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (DSM-IV criteria) was conducted. Thirty-five patients were enrolled, of whom 22 completed the 12 weeks of the study. Eighteen of these patients also completed a P50 evoked potential evaluation.

Results: Allopurinol was well tolerated and produced significant improvement in Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total, positive, negative, and general scores, particularly for positive symptoms compared with baseline and with placebo phase. Nine patients improved more than 20% in PANSS total score during allopurinol treatment, whereas none responded in the placebo phase. Responders had a shorter duration of illness than nonresponders. P50 auditory sensory gating failed to improve with allopurinol treatment.

Conclusions: Allopurinol was an effective and well-tolerated adjuvant treatment for poorly responsive schizophrenia, especially for refractory positive symptoms. ​