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Effects of olanzapine on prolactin levels of female patients with schizophrenia treated with risperidone

Kwang-Soo Kim, Chi-Un Pae, Jeong-Ho Chae, Won-Myong Bahk, Tae-Youn Jun, Dai-Jin Kim, Ruth A Dickson
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2002, 63 (5): 408-13
12019665

BACKGROUND: This study was conducted to prospectively examine the effect of switching from risperidone to olanzapine on female schizophrenia patients who experienced menstrual disturbances, galactorrhea, and/or sexual dysfunction.

METHOD: Twenty female patients with DSM-IV schizophrenia who were taking risperidone and were suffering from menstrual disturbances, galactorrhea, and/or sexual dysfunction were enrolled. Patients were switched from risperidone to olanzapine over a 2-week period, then treated with olanzapine for 8 additional weeks. The serum prolactin concentrations were examined every 2 weeks. The Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS), Simpson-Angus Scale for Extrapyramidal Symptoms (SAS), and questions from the Dickson-Glazer Sexual Functioning Scale were administered to evaluate efficacy, extrapyramidal side effects, and sexual and reproductive functioning at baseline and the endpoint of 10 weeks.

RESULTS: Serum prolactin levels decreased significantly (p < .01) following the switch from risperidone to olanzapine. Scores of PANSS, AIMS, and SAS at the endpoint were also significantly decreased (p < .01) compared to those of baseline. Patients experienced improvements in menstrual functioning and perceptions of sexual side effects.

CONCLUSION: Olanzapine reversed hyperprolactinemia in risperidone-treated female schizophrenic patients. This was associated with a decrease in amenorrhea, improved cycle regularity, and a decrease in sexual side effects that the women attributed to antipsychotic medication. This study suggests that switching to olanzapine is a safe and effective alternative method for patients with antipsychotic-induced hyperprolactinemia associated sexual and/or reproductive dysfunction. Long-term follow-up studies are warranted, with particular attention to the course of sexual and reproductive dysfunction.

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