Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England)

Effects of antipsychotic treatment on cognition in healthy subjects.

PMID 23118022


Cognitive impairments can be observed in the majority of diseases with disturbed dopamine transmission. They are considered as core symptoms of schizophrenia, a disorder in which they appear to be particularly pronounced. Their neurobiological background is not yet sufficiently investigated, but dopaminergic systems are believed to play a crucial role. The aim of this single-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled study was to examine the effects of subchronic antidopaminergic treatment on cognitive functions in healthy subjects. In total, 72 healthy volunteers, randomised into four groups, received one antidopaminergic substance (aripiprazole, haloperidol or reserpine) or placebo, respectively, for 7 days. A comprehensive neurocognitive assessment was conducted at baseline, 24 h after the last medication intake and 7 days later. In the Digit Symbol Substitution Test a distinct, statistically significant improvement was measured in the second session in the placebo but not in the medication group. A significant group*time interaction for reaction times in three subtests of the Test battery for Attentional Performance (TAP) was also found. Our findings indicate that modulation of dopaminergic systems affects primarily speed of information processing, attention and learning. Absence of effects on other functions, differing from previous reports, may be an expression of a sufficient counter-regulation.