Longitudinal growth hormone studies in schizophrenia
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The growth hormone (GH) response to apomorphine hydrochloride (APO) was examined monthly in 12 schizophrenic patients on drug holiday for up to 22 months and compared with age- and sex-matched controls. There was more variability in the response of patients than controls on the first trial and on several subsequent challenges. Patients' and controls' GH responses to an APO challenge did not distinguish them from each other on the first trial. However, longitudinal data revealed that in a subgroup of five schizophrenic patients and five controls, studied for 12 consecutive trials, the GH response averaged over the 12 trials was significantly lower in the patients than in the controls. Moreover, when schizophrenics' responses on each successive trial were compared, responses decreased over time, but were significantly different from controls only in the later trials. Three of the patients were followed for more than 12 trials, and their GH responsivity increased in the later trials. GH response to APO was significantly correlated with positive symptom scores in three patients but not in four others. There was a trend toward an association between the occurrence of relapse and GH increment induced by APO. A significant association between change in body weight and change in GH response to APO was discovered, suggesting that a changing body weight may contribute to the variability in subjects' response to APO.
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