Methylene blue adjuvant therapy of schizophrenia

Stephen I. Deutsch, Richard B. Rosse, Barbara L. Schwartz, Maureen Fay-McCarthy, Paul B. Rosenberg, Kim Fearing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


There is growing interest in the role of the nitric oxide (NO) pathway in idiopathic psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. In this preliminary study, we examined the therapeutic efficacy of methylene blue (MB), a 'downstream' inhibitor of one of NO's actions, administered orally as an adjuvant to conventional neuroleptic medications. Specifically, MB blocks NO's activation of soluble guanylyl cyclase. MB has previously been reported to have therapeutic effects in the treatment of psychosis and mania. Preclinical data also suggest that MB might possess antipsychotic potential. Participants in the current study were eight patients with schizophrenia who had incomplete responses to conventional antipsychotics (as evidenced by a Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale [BPRS] total score of 35 or more). These patients completed a 4-week open-label study with a 1 week 'off', 2 week 'on', and one final week 'off' design. Measures of treatment efficacy were the BPRS. Schedule for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms, and Clinical Global Improvement Scale administered weekly. Final scores for each outcome measure item were based on the consensus of at least two trained raters present during each rating interview. A statistically significant, albeit modest, decrease in the severity of psychopathology was observed while the subjects were taking MB, and psychopathology significantly worsened when MB was discontinued. The results suggest a need for further study with MB or perhaps other NO-dependent guanylyl cyclase-inhibiting medications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-363
Number of pages7
JournalClinical neuropharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Adjuvant therapy
  • Antipsychotic
  • NMDA receptor complex
  • Nitric oxide-stimulated guanylyl cyclase
  • Shizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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