Common food preservative may help to treat schizophrenia
Saturday 03/February/2018 - 02:50 PM
A new randomized trial from Taiwan shows that a common food preservative could enhance the effect of a schizophrenia drug، even in the case of people normally resistant to treatment. Schizophrenia is a chronic، sometimes disabling mental disorder characterized by delusions، flat affect، agitated movements، and a difficulty in sustaining activities.
Treatments include antipsychotic medication — such as brexpiprazole، clozapine، or risperidone — and psychosocial treatments.
Studies have shown that "one fifth to one half of [people with schizophrenia] are classified as refractory to pharmacological treatment،" meaning that they do not respond to antipsychotics.
Researchers from China Medical University in Taiwan may now have found a way of boosting the effectiveness of certain drugs، which may help some people living with schizophrenia to respond better to treatment.
The answer، says the study's lead investigator Dr. Hsien-Yuan Lane، may be found in a common food preservative: sodium benzoate. Dr. Lane and team conducted a randomized، double-blind، placebo-controlled trial showing that this preservative could enhance the effects of the antipsychotic drug clozapine.
"Clozapine،" he explains، "is considered the last-line antipsychotic agent for patients with refractory schizophrenia." Despite this، a significant number of people living with schizophrenia are resistant to this drug.Medics Today said.
The new trial seems to confirm for the first time that sodium benzoate — which has successfully been used as an add-on to other antipsychotics — can be added to clozapine to improve the symptoms of drug-resistant patients.
Dr. Lane and colleagues' findings were recently published in the journal Biological Psychiatry. "If the finding can be confirmed، this approach may bring hope for treating patients with the most refractory schizophrenia،" he suggests.
The study involved 60 individuals receiving clozapine as a treatment for schizophrenia. As part of the trial، the participants were split into three groups: the control group، who were given a placebo alongside clozapine، and the study groups، who received sodium benzoate in addition to the usual dose of clozapine.
In order to gain a better understanding about the impact of dosage، Dr. Lane and colleagues tested the sodium benzoate add-on in two different quantities — 1 or 2 grams of the substance per day — hence the two separate study groups.
The researchers administered the treatments to the subjects in the three groups over a period of 6 weeks.