Effects of the acute administration of caffeine in patients with schizophrenia

Biol Psychiatry. 1990 Jul 1;28(1):35-40. doi: 10.1016/0006-3223(90)90429-6.


Caffeine, 10 mg/kg, was administered to 13 schizophrenic patients in a double-blind placebo-controlled study of its behavioral effects. Some measures of psychopathology were significantly increased: Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) total, BPRS subscales thought disorder, unusual thought content, and euphoria-activation, and several individual BPRS items. Nurses' Bunney-Hamberg ratings of psychosis and mania, comparing the day before with the day after pharmacological challenge, increased significantly. Compared to placebo, caffeine also produced significant increases of diastolic blood pressure and cortisol. Thus, these findings indicate that caffeine increases arousal and has a psychotogenic effect when administered to schizophrenic patients. The possible roles of various neurotransmitters is discussed with special emphasis on caffeine's actions on dopaminergic and adenosinergic systems.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arousal / drug effects*
  • Caffeine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*


  • Caffeine
  • Hydrocortisone