Prepulse inhibition of acoustic startle in subjects with schizophrenia treated with olanzapine or haloperidol

Psychiatry Res. 2003 Aug 30;120(1):1-12. doi: 10.1016/s0165-1781(03)00161-6.


Studies of the acoustic startle response and of its inhibition by the presentation of a non-startling preliminary stimulus (prepulse inhibition, PPI) have revealed deficits in PPI in schizophrenic subjects compared to healthy controls. Animal studies indicate that atypical antipsychotics improve PPI deficits induced by NMDA antagonists more consistently than typical antipsychotics. The effect of medication status on PPI in schizophrenia is unresolved in the literature. In the current study the effects on PPI of the atypical antipsychotic olanzapine and the typical antipsychotic haloperidol were compared to the unmedicated state in subjects with schizophrenia. In a between-group design, 11 schizophrenic subjects on olanzapine, 16 subjects on haloperidol, and 14 subjects who were on no medication received acoustic startle testing with PPI determination. ANOVAs revealed no significant differences in startle to pulse alone stimuli, habituation of startle, or PPI between the olanzapine, haloperidol and unmedicated groups. These 41 subjects with schizophrenia were compared to a group of 21 historical healthy controls and found to have reduced PPI. These data do not indicate a preferential effect of olanzapine compared to haloperidol on sensorimotor gating in schizophrenia. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that PPI impairments are relatively stable across treatment conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arousal / drug effects
  • Attention / drug effects
  • Benzodiazepines / adverse effects
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Blinking / drug effects*
  • Electromyography / drug effects
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic / drug effects*
  • Haloperidol / adverse effects
  • Haloperidol / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Inhibition / drug effects*
  • Olanzapine
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Reflex, Startle / drug effects*
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Haloperidol
  • Olanzapine