Treatment of cognitive dysfunction in chronic schizophrenia by augmentation of atypical antipsychotics with buspirone, a partial 5-HT(1A) receptor agonist

Hum Psychopharmacol. 2009 Aug;24(6):437-46. doi: 10.1002/hup.1046.


Objectives: To assess effects of a semi-acute administration of buspirone in comparison to a placebo on cognitive function and negative symptoms in patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.

Methods: In a 6-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, independent groups study 18 subjects (14 males, four females) received in random order either placebo or buspirone (15-30 mg/day). A neuropsychological assessment using the Hopkins verbal learning test (HVLT) simple reaction time (SRT), choice reaction time (CRT), n-back spatial working memory task and the stroop colour and word test was performed at baseline and final visit. Symptom rating scales were administered at testing weeks 0, 2, 4 and 6.

Results: Repeated measures ANOVA was used to examine changes in performance on tests over time. There were no statistically significant differences between placebo and buspirone treatments on either cognitive function measures or symptom ratings.

Conclusion: Semi-acute adjunct treatment with buspirone may be too short to be clinically efficacious in patients with schizophrenia. Intrinsic activation of 5-HT(1A) receptors by atypical antipsychotics may hinder the ability of buspirone to further improve cognitive functions. Buspirone did not affect clinical outcomes for this chronically ill group of patients being treated with atypical antipsychotic drugs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Buspirone / administration & dosage
  • Buspirone / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology
  • Serotonin 5-HT1 Receptor Agonists
  • Serotonin Receptor Agonists / administration & dosage
  • Serotonin Receptor Agonists / therapeutic use
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Serotonin 5-HT1 Receptor Agonists
  • Serotonin Receptor Agonists
  • Buspirone