Double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial of a vasopressin V2-receptor antagonist in patients with schizophrenia and hyponatremia.

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OBJECTIVES: Hyponatremia (serum sodium [Na+] concentration/L) is a prevalent and potentially life-threatening medical comorbidity for schizophrenic patients. No definitive pharmacological treatments have been established. Tolvaptan (OPC-41061), an oral non-peptide V2-receptor antagonist, was recently shown to correct hyponatremia in a diverse population of 448 hyponatremic patients. Efficacy in a sub-set of 19 schizophrenic patients with idiopathic hyponatremia included in that sample is specifically examined.

METHODS: Nineteen subjects were randomly assigned to receive placebo (n = 12) or tolvaptan (n = 7) once daily for 30 days. Dosage adjustment was based on serum Na+ changes, initially 15 mg, titratable to 30 or 60 mg. The average daily area under the curve (AUC) changes in serum Na+ from baseline to Day 4 and Day 30 were co-primary end points.

RESULTS: Increases in serum Na+ concentrations were significantly greater with tolvaptan than placebo at Day 4 (p = .0055) and at Day 30 (p < .0001). Two subjects receiving tolvaptan (28.6%) became dehydrated and experienced hypotension, and five subjects receiving placebo (41.7%) experienced symptoms associated with dilutional hyponatremia.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that tolvaptan effectively normalizes idiopathic hyponatremia in schizophrenic patients. Clinicians are advised to carefully monitor fluid status especially at the beginning of treatment to prevent dehydration.

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Biological psychiatry

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