The effect of clozapine and risperidone on attentional bias in patients with schizophrenia and a cannabis use disorder: An fMRI study

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Cannabis use disorders (CUDs) are highly comorbid in patients with schizophrenia and are associated with poor outcome. Clozapine has been put forward as the first choice antipsychotic in this comorbid group. However, little is known about the mechanisms underlying the assumed superiority of clozapine. We compared the effects of clozapine and risperidone on attentional bias, subjective craving and associated regional brain activity in patients with schizophrenia and CUD. Overall, 36 patients with schizophrenia and 19 healthy controls were included. Patients were randomised to antipsychotic treatment with clozapine or risperidone. At baseline and after 4 weeks of medication use, regional brain responses were measured during a classical Stroop and a cannabis word Stroop using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Clozapine-treated CUD patients showed a larger reduction in craving and in activation of the insula during the cannabis word Stroop, while risperidone-treated patients showed a larger decrease in activation of the right anterior cingulate cortex during the classical Stroop. A significant association was found between decreases in subjective craving and decreases in insula activation during the cannabis word Stroop. These findings strongly suggest that clozapine may be a better treatment choice in patients with schizophrenia and CUD than risperidone
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-642
JournalJournal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England)
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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