To the Editor.—
In their article on immunological disturbances in psychiatric patients, Roos et al1 found no changes in immunoglobulin levels in schizophrenics and depressed patients, which suggested to them that viral and autoimmune factors were not of etiological significance in these conditions.Eighty-two percent of the sample population in this study was composed of schizophrenic patients who had been exposed to neuroleptics for prolonged periods of time. Gowdy2 has shown that neuroleptics affect immunoglobulin levels. Furthermore, although these patients had been drug-free for two weeks before specimens were obtained, active metabolites of these drugs can still be present in the tissues for up to 60 days or longer.3,4 What effect this would have on immunological criteria is uncertain.To avoid this problematic effect, the sample population should ideally be composed only of patients who have never taken neuroleptics.
Lawlor BA, Muniz CE. Immunological Distubances in Psychiatric Patients. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1986;43(2):190. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1986.01800020100016