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Original Research

Add-On Pramipexole for the Treatment of Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Linda Levi, BSca; Daisy Zamora, PhDb; Igor Nastas, MDc; Ilan Gonen, MDd; Paull Radu, MDd; Valentin Matei, MDe; Adela M. Ciobanu, MDe; Anatol Nacu, MDc; Larisa Boronin, MDc; Lusian Karakrah, MDa; Michael Davidson, MDf; John M. Davis, MDg; and Mark Weiser, MDa,h

Published: August 1, 2022


Objective: Several small clinical trials have reported that the dopamine agonist pramipexole was beneficial in treating patients with schizophrenia. A confirmatory trial was conducted to test this hypothesis.

Methods: This 16-week, multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study included 200 subjects meeting DSM-IV-TR criteria for schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Patients were randomized to receive either pramipexole (0.75 mg twice daily, n = 100) or placebo (n = 100) as an add-on to their regular antipsychotic treatment. The primary outcome measure was the total score on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS); secondary outcome measures included PANSS subscale and cognitive functioning scores. Recruitment was performed in 30 sites in Romania and 1 site in the Republic of Moldova between January and June 2011.

Results: Analysis of covariance models showed no significant difference between pramipexole and placebo for total PANSS (P > .99) and PANSS positive (P > .99), negative (P = .73), and general psychopathology (P = .99) subscale scores. Changes in Clinical Global Impressions–Severity of Illness scale and Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia scores showed no significant difference between pramipexole and placebo.

Conclusions: The results of this large randomized controlled trial indicated that pramipexole was not efficacious as an add-on to antipsychotic medications for schizophrenia.

Trial Registration: identifier NCT01320982


Volume: 83

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