Added ondansetron for stable schizophrenia: a double blind, placebo controlled trial

Schizophr Res. 2009 Feb;107(2-3):206-12. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2008.08.004. Epub 2008 Sep 13.


It is well documented that 5-hydroxytryptamine3 (5-HT3) receptors are involved in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia and cognitive impairment. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of ondansetron, a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist as an adjuvant agent in the treatment of chronic schizophrenia in particular for cognitive impairments. This investigation was a 12-week, double blind study of parallel groups of patients with stable chronic schizophrenia. Thirty patients were recruited from inpatient and outpatient departments. All participants met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) criteria for schizophrenia. To be eligible, patients were required to have been treated with a stable dose of risperidone as their primary antipsychotic treatment for a minimum period of 8 weeks. The subjects were randomized to receive ondansetron (8 mg/day) or the placebo in addition to risperidone. Clinical psychopathology was assessed with Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). Cognition was measured by a cognitive battery. Patients were assessed at baseline and after 8, and 12 weeks after the medication started. The PANSS scores and cognitive performance were used as the outcome measures. The ondansetron group had significantly greater improvement in the negative symptoms, general psychopathological symptoms and PANSS total scores over the trial. Administration of ondansetron significantly improved visual memory based on improvement on visual reproduction, visual paired associate and figural memory sub tests of Wechsler Memory Scale--Revised. The present study indicates ondansetron as potential adjunctive treatment strategy for chronic schizophrenia particularly for negative symptoms and cognitive impairments.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Ondansetron / administration & dosage*
  • Ondansetron / adverse effects
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risperidone / administration & dosage
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Serotonin Antagonists / administration & dosage*
  • Serotonin Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Young Adult


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • Ondansetron
  • Risperidone