Policosanol, reaction time and event-related potentials

Neuropsychobiology. 2000;41(3):158-65. doi: 10.1159/000026649.


The aim of the present study was to compare the results of a 1-week, double-blind placebo-controlled trial investigating the effects of isopolicosanol and octacosanol on reactivity and related brain activity. In particular, reaction time (RT) and event-related potentials such as contingent negative variations (CNV) and P300 (P3) have been studied. Thirty sedentary healthy students were tested before and after treatment (3.6 mg/die for 7 days) with orally administered tablets of placebo (group A), isopolicosanol (B) and octacosanol (C). RT were studied according to three procedures: simple RT (SRT), go/no-go RT (GRT) and choice RT (CRT). Results show that before treatment, there were no significant differences between groups A, B and C. After treatment, the RT of group A was unchanged, while the RT of groups B and C were reduced. In group B, in the SRT test, the reduction of RT was accompanied by electrical data exhibiting increased amplitudes of CNV and shorter latencies of P3. These results show that the main effect on reactivity and event-related potentials can be ascribed to policosanol and is mainly evident in the SRT test.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / pharmacology
  • Contingent Negative Variation / drug effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electroencephalography
  • Event-Related Potentials, P300 / drug effects
  • Evoked Potentials / drug effects*
  • Fatty Alcohols / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Reaction Time / drug effects*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Fatty Alcohols
  • Plant Extracts
  • policosanol
  • 1-octacosanol