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December 1976

Hyporesponsivity of Chronic Schizophrenic Patients to Dextroamphetamine

Author Affiliations

From the Boston University School of Medicine, Boston.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(12):1425-1428. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770120029002

• Among the evidence supporting the dopamine hypothesis of schizophrenia is the finding that both amphetamine and methylphenidate hydrochloride, potent releasers of dopamine, can cause exacerbation of symptoms in the acute schizophrenic patient. The present report describes three experiments in which the effects of amphetamine in chronic schizophrenic patients were studied. In one of the experiments, orally administered, daily doses of 20 mg of dextroamphetamine sulfate given at 8 PM had little or no effect on the sleep duration of the subjects. In the other two experiments, doses up to 40 mg given orally also had little or no effect on the performance of the subjects on a variety of behavioral tests. There was no evidence of an exacerbation of the disease process in any of the subjects. The most consistent amphetamine effect was a dose-related increase in blood pressure. These results indicate that the chronic schizophrenic patient may be hyporesponsive to amphetamine and suggest that if the dopamine hypothesis is correct, then it must be modified to take into account these findings in the chronic patient.

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