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Food Preservative: A New Hope For Refractory Schizophrenia?


The safety of food preservatives is a much debated topic. There are a number of misgivings about these chemicals, which are used to prolong the shelf life of foodstuffs. Be that as it may, the demand for food preservatives is only growing, says a report by Research and Market, thanks to increase in the disposable income and changes in food consumption patterns.

A study conducted by researchers of the China Medical University, Taiwan, has found that adding the common food preservative Sodium benzoate as an adjuvant to Clozapine, the "gold standard" treatment for patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia improved the symptoms in patients with refractory schizophrenia.

The study involved 60 schizophrenia inpatients that had been stabilized with Clozapine. They were divided into three groups, and were treated for 6 weeks with the add-on therapy of 1 g/day sodium benzoate, 2 g/day sodium benzoate, or placebo.

According to the researchers, there was an improvement in the negative symptoms of schizophrenia in patients treated with Sodium benzoate compared to placebo. *The negative symptoms of schizophrenia comprise a range of deficits in communication, emotional responsiveness, socialization, and motivation (*Source: thebmj).

Moreover, the higher dose of Sodium benzoate produced better improvement than placebo in the ratings of the symptoms of schizophrenia, like PANSS-total score and PANSS-positive score, and quality of life.

Further studies are required to determine the optimal dose and treatment duration as well as the mechanisms of Sodium benzoate for Clozapine-resistant schizophrenia, say the researchers.

The study is published in Biological Psychiatry.

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