Relationships between low-grade peripheral inflammation and psychotropic drugs in schizophrenia: results from the national FACE-SZ cohort

Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2018 Sep;268(6):541-553. doi: 10.1007/s00406-017-0847-1. Epub 2017 Nov 10.


Low-grade inflammation has repeatedly been associated with schizophrenia (SZ) and in particular with cognitive impairment. Female gender, overweight and tobacco smoking have been suggested as risk factors to increase inflammation while preclinical inconsistent findings have been found regarding the association with psychotropic drugs. The aim of this study was to explore if psychotropic drugs were associated with inflammation in SZ and to determine which psychotropic drug was associated with inflammation in stable SZ subjects while considering clinical confounding factors. Participants were consecutively included in the network of the FondaMental Expert Centers for Schizophrenia and received a thorough clinical assessment, including recording of current treatment. High-sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP) was measured for each participant as a proxy to define peripheral low-grade inflammation. The zero-inflated Poisson regression model estimated the relationship between low-grade inflammation and psychotropic drug. Four hundred and five stabilized, community-dwelling SZ subjects (mean age = 32.6 years, 74% male gender) have been included. In total, 148 participants (36.5%) were found with undetectable blood hs-CRP level. The probability of having an undetectable CRP was associated with a lower body mass index (p < 0.0001) and no cyamemazine add-on antipsychotic therapy (p = 0.001). The other 257 participants (63.5%) were found to have low-grade inflammation (hs-CRP > 0 mg/L). Low-grade inflammation was significantly associated with female gender (p = 0.004), higher body mass index (p < 0.0001), current tobacco smoking (p < 0.0001), clomipramine (p = 0.04), quetiapine (p < 0.0001) and hypnotic (p = 0.0006) consumption while decreased hs-CRP blood levels was associated with aripiprazole (p = 0.004) and valproate/valpromide (p = 0.03) consumption. The present study suggests that some psychotropic drugs (quetiapine, cyamemazine, clomipramine) may be associated with increased peripheral low-grade inflammation in SZ patients while others (aripiprazole, valproate) may be associated with decreased peripheral low-grade inflammation. These results should be replicated in SZ and non-SZ populations and the biological underpinnings should be further explored.

Keywords: Antidepressant; Antipsychotic; Inflammation; Schizophrenia; Valproate.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antimanic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • C-Reactive Protein*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use*
  • Inflammation / blood*
  • Inflammation / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychotic Disorders* / blood
  • Psychotic Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Psychotic Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Schizophrenia* / blood
  • Schizophrenia* / drug therapy
  • Schizophrenia* / epidemiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Antimanic Agents
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • C-Reactive Protein