Despite adequate antipsychotic treatment, most people with schizophrenia continue to exhibit persistent positive and negative symptoms and cognitive impairments. The current study was designed to examine the efficacy and safety of adjunctive anti-inflammatory combination therapy for these illness manifestations.
Thirty-nine people with either Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision, schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were entered into a 12-week double-blind, 2-arm, triple-dummy, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial: 19 were randomized to anti-inflammatory combination therapy and 20 were randomized to placebo. The Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale positive symptom item total score was used to assess positive symptom change, the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms total score was used to assess negative symptom change, the Calgary Depression Scale total score was used to assess depressive symptom change, and the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery was used to assess neuropsychological test performance.
There was a significant time effect for Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale positive symptom item score (t226 = −2.66, P = 0.008), but the treatment (t54=1.52, P = 0.13) and treatment × time (t223 = 0.47, P = 0.64) effects were not significant. There were no significant time (t144 = 0.53, P = 0.72), treatment (t58=0.48, P = 0.63), or treatment × time (t143 = −0.20, P = 0.84) effects for the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms total score; or for any of the other symptom measures. There were no significant group differences in the change in the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery composite score over the course of the study (F1,26=2.20, P = 0.15).
The study results suggest that there is no significant benefit of combined anti-inflammatory treatment for persistent positive symptoms or negative symptoms or cognitive impairments (clinicaltrials.gov trial number: NCT01514682).