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Withania Somnifera: an Immunomodulator and Anti-inflammatory Agent for Schizophrenia

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
 
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01793935
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : February 18, 2013
Results First Posted : November 22, 2017
Last Update Posted : January 3, 2018
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
K.N. Roy Chengappa, University of Pittsburgh

Brief Summary:

Withania somnifera (WSE; Ashwagandha in Ayurveda) extracts have been used as an adaptogen or to build resistance to stress or diseases in indigenous medical systems in India for centuries. Modern scientific data for WSE indicate several bioactive molecules (withanolides, withanosides, indosides, withaferin-A, others) with significant immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and stress reducing properties.

This study will examine whether a standardized extract of Withania Somnifera (WSE; Sensoril®) will improve total, positive, negative symptoms, and stress in patients with schizophrenia. The study will examine whether WSE reduces PANSS positive and negative symptoms and stress scores in subjects, and whether these improvements are mediated by changes in inflammatory immune indices. An additional aim will determine if patients receiving WSE will have fewer adjustments to their psychotropic medications that those assigned to placebo. The study will examine whether WSE will re-balance Th1/Th2 ratios (cytokine measures) and mediate a reduction of elevated hs-CRP levels. It is hypothesized that those subjects whose Th1/Th2 ratios normalize will likely have a greater magnitude of clinical improvement versus those subjects whose immune ratios remain unbalanced.

The proposal is a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled RCT of WSE added to antipsychotic medications in approximately 60 or more patients with schizophrenia with an exacerbation of symptoms. If efficacy is affirmed, this low cost extract could be studied further, and used quite readily across low, middle and high income countries.


Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Schizophrenia Schizoaffective Disorder Drug: Sensoril® Drug: Placebo Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

The primary aim is to determine whether a standardized extract of Withania somnifera will reduce psychopathology scores (PANSS total) and stress scores(PSS total) in persons with schizophrenia?

The study will also determine whether WSE reduces measures of positive and negative and general symptoms of schizophrenia (PANSS subscale scores)?

Another primary aim will be to determine if changes in antipsychotic and/or other psychotropic medications (lithium, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, anxiolytic agents or hypnotics) (examples: dosage escalation or reductions or switch or stoppage) will favor the group receiving the standardized Withania somnifera extract versus those receiving placebo. Even though we expect changes in antipsychotic medications to occur when patients experience an exacerbation of psychotic symptoms (or other psychiatric symptoms), we hypothesize that those receiving the standardized Withania somnifera extract will experience fewer medication adjustments then those assigned to placebo.

A secondary aim is to determine whether WSE will rebalance TH1/TH2 ratios (cytokine measures) and mediate a reduction of elevated hs-CRP levels? The study will assess whether those subjects whose TH1/TH2 ratios normalize have a greater magnitude of clinical improvement vs. those subjects whose immune ratios remain unbalanced. Similarly, the study will assess whether reduction of hsCRP levels correlate with improvements in PANSS total and subscale scores or the PSS total scores.

Eighty or more patients with DSM IV TR (or if instituted by the study initiation: DSM V) schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder will be screened and 60 or more eligible patients will be enrolled in a 12 week placebo controlled double blind study. Subjects who have experienced an exacerbation of positive symptoms (delusions, hallucinations, etc). Subjects receiving medications that affect the immune-inflammatory system will be excluded and those receiving antibiotics, antiviral or anti-parasitic medications will be excluded.

Base line laboratory and EKG examination will be carried out to establish eligibility for study participation. In addition specific laboratory analyses of immune markers namely interleukin-2, interferon gamma, interleukin-4, interleukin 6 and high sensitivity C-Reactive Protein will be carried out.

Sixty or more patients will be randomly assigned to receive either WSE or matching placebo starting with 1 capsule of 250 mg strength twice a day (total daily dose = 500 mg) for the first week which will be increased to 2 capsules of 250 mg twice daily (total daily dose = 1000 mg) for a total treatment period of 12 weeks. An assessment of psychopathology (PANSS) and stress will be carried out at each scheduled visit. Assessments of safety including vital signs and treatment emergent adverse events will also be carried out at each visit. Immune-inflammatory markers will be re-assessed at the final visit.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 68 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Quadruple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Sensoril® (Ashwagandha), an Immunomodulator and Anti-inflammatory Agent for Schizophrenia: A Parallel Group, Randomized Double Blind, and Placebo Controlled Study
Study Start Date : April 2013
Actual Primary Completion Date : July 7, 2016
Actual Study Completion Date : July 7, 2016

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Schizophrenia

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Sensoril®
Sensoril® is a proprietary extract of Withania Somnifera
Drug: Sensoril®
Sensoril® is a proprietary extract of Withania Somnifera. Each Sensoril® capsules will contain 250 mg of standardized extract of Withania Somnifera
Other Name: Ashwagandha

Placebo Comparator: Placebo
Placebo
Drug: Placebo
Each Placebo capsule comprises inert ingredients; microcrystalline cellulose NF 102, croscarmellose Sodium NF, silicon Dioxide, Fumed NF (Cab-0-sil), magnesium sterate, NF matched in appearance and fill weight to Sensoril® capsules. Moreover, based on past experience, we will expose the placebo capsules to covered sachets containing Sensoril, so that the smell permeates the placebo capsules which then smell like the Sensoril capsules.
Other Name: "Sugar Pill"




Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) [ Time Frame: Baseline and 12 Weeks ]

    The Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) measures symptom severity in patients with psychotic illnesses. It yields a total score as well as subscores for Positive symptoms, Negative symptoms and General symptoms.

    PANSS Positive subscale consists of 7 Items - (minimum score = 7, maximum score = 49) - Higher values represent a worse outcome.

    PANSS Negative subscale consists of 7 Items - (minimum score = 7, maximum score = 49) - Higher values represent a worse outcome.

    General Psychopathology subscale consists of 16 items - (minimum score = 16, maximum score = 112) - Higher values represent a worse outcome.

    PANSS Total Score - The 3 subscales scores are summed to compute a PANSS Total score. The minimum PANSS total score = 30, maximum = 210 - Higher values represent a worse outcome



Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) [ Time Frame: Baseline and 12 weeks or end of treatment ]

    The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) was developed to measure the degree to which situations in one's life are appraised as stressful.

    Perceived Stress Scale Scoring Each item is rated on a 5-point scale ranging from never (0) to very often (4). Positively worded items are reverse scored, and the ratings are summed, with higher scores indicating more perceived stress.

    PSS-10 scores are obtained by reversing the scores on the four positive items:

    For example, 0=4, 1=3, 2=2, etc. and then summing across all 10 items. Items 4, 5, 7, and 8 are the positively stated items. Total score can range from 0 to 40. Scores around 13 are considered average. Scores of 20 or higher are considered high stress,


  2. Clinical Global Impression Scale (CGI-S) - Severity [ Time Frame: Baseline and 12 weeks or end of study ]
    The Clinical Global Impression - Severity scale (CGI-S) is a 7-point scale that requires the clinician to rate the severity of the patient's illness at the time of assessment, relative to the clinician's past experience with patients who have the same diagnosis. Possible ratings are: 0 = not assessed, 1 = Normal, not at all ill, 2 = Borderline mentally ill, 3 = Mildly ill, 4 = Moderately ill, 5 = Markedly ill, 6 = Severely ill, 7 = Among the most extremely ill patients - The higher the score the worse outcome

  3. Number of Participants With a Score of 1, 2, or 3 on the Clinical Global Impression Improvement Scale [ Time Frame: 12 weeks ]

    The Clinical Global Impression - Improvement scale (CGI-I) is a 7 point scale that requires the clinician to assess how much the patient's illness has improved or worsened relative to a baseline state at the beginning of the intervention. and rated as: Possible ratings are: 1= Very much improved, 2=Much improved, 3=Minimally improved, 4=No change, 5= Minimally worse, 6= Much worse, 7=Very much worse.

    The higher the score the worse outcome


  4. Immune Marker IL-2 [ Time Frame: Baseline and 12 weeks or end of study ]
    Changes in immune marker IL-2 will be assessed in response to study medication.

  5. Immune Marker IL-4 [ Time Frame: Baseline and12 weeks or end of study ]
    Changes in immune marker IL-4 will be assessed in response to study medication.

  6. Immune Marker IL-6 [ Time Frame: Changes from Baseline in Immune markers at 12 weeks or end of study ]
    Changes in immune marker IL-6 will be assessed in response to study medication.

  7. Immune Marker IFN-Y (Gamma) [ Time Frame: Baseline and 12 weeks or end of study ]
    Changes in immune marker IFN-Y (gamma) will be assessed in response to study medication.

  8. Immune Marker Hs-CRP (High Sensitivity C Reactive Protein) [ Time Frame: Baseline and 12 weeks or end of study ]

    Changes in immune marker hs-CRP (high sensitivity C Reactive Protein) will be assessed in response to study medication.

    hsCRP - mg/L


  9. Immune Marker S-100B [ Time Frame: Baseline and 12 weeks or end of treatment ]

    Changes in immune marker S-100B will be assessed in response to study medication.

    Elisa

    • Sensitivity 2.7 picogm/ml
    • Range 2.7 to 2000 picogm/ml


Other Outcome Measures:
  1. Vital Signs - Weight [ Time Frame: Baseline and 12 weeks or end of study ]
    Clinically significant changes in weight will be assessed for "normal" or "abnormal" following randomization to 12 weeks or end of study

  2. Vital Signs - Body Mass Index [ Time Frame: Baseline and 12 weeks or end of study ]
    Clinically significant changes in BMI will be assessed for "normal" or "abnormal" following randomization to 12 weeks or end of study.

  3. Vital Signs - Blood Pressure Systolic and Diastolic [ Time Frame: Baseline and 12 weeks or end of study ]
    Clinically significant changes in BP will be assessed for "normal" or "abnormal" following randomization to 12 weeks or end of study.

  4. Vital Signs - Pulse [ Time Frame: Baseline and 12 weeks or end of study ]
    Clinically significant changes in Pulse will be assessed for "normal" or "abnormal" following randomization to 12 weeks or end of study.

  5. Vital Signs - Temperature [ Time Frame: Baseline and 12 weeks or end of study ]
    Clinically significant changes in Temperature will be assessed for "normal" or "abnormal" following randomization to 12 weeks or end of study.

  6. Laboratory Analytes [ Time Frame: Change from Baseline in Laboratory Analytes at 12 weeks or end of study ]
    Changes in laboratory analytes will be classified as "normal" or "abnormal" (example: white blood cell counts)



Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.


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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 75 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. Adult males or females (≥ 18 years, to 75 years)
  2. DSM IV TR diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (If officially instituted by study initiation: DSM V diagnoses will be used).
  3. Ability to provide informed written consent
  4. PANSS total score ≥ 60, positive symptom cluster, (delusions, conceptual disorganization, hallucinatory behavior, excitement, grandiosity, suspiciousness/persecution, hostility and unusual thought content with at least 2 items scoring ≥ 4, or one of these items scoring ≥ 5, on a scale ranging from 1 = absent to 7 = extreme
  5. Current symptom exacerbation ≥ 2 weeks, but ≤ 1 year
  6. Receiving anti-psychotic medications for ≥ 4 weeks
  7. For women of child bearing age, a negative pregnancy test at screening.

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Testing positive for illicit substances (marijuana or alcohol use will be assessed on a case by case basis, caffeine and nicotine are excepted)
  2. Receiving pharmacological treatment for addictions (naltrexone, suboxone, acamprosate, others) will be reviewed on a case by case basis
  3. Seriously unstable medical illnesses
  4. Pregnant or breast feeding women
  5. Known allergy or history of serious adverse event with WSE
  6. Subjects who may require imminent hospitalization (examples: suicidal or aggressive behavior)
  7. Currently receiving antibiotics, anti-viral, or anti-parasitic medications
  8. Currently receiving immunosuppressive medications (e.g. corticosteroids, chemotherapy or transplantation or HIV/AIDs associated drugs).
  9. Currently receiving NSAIDs or Aspirin (>81 mg/day) on a daily basis or PRN use > 2x/week (in the last 4 weeks).

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT01793935


Locations
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United States, Pennsylvania
Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, 15213
Sponsors and Collaborators
K.N. Roy Chengappa
Investigators
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Principal Investigator: KN Roy Chengappa, MD University of Pittsburgh

Publications automatically indexed to this study by ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier (NCT Number):
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Responsible Party: K.N. Roy Chengappa, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01793935    
Other Study ID Numbers: SMRI #: 12T-001
First Posted: February 18, 2013    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: November 22, 2017
Last Update Posted: January 3, 2018
Last Verified: October 2017
Keywords provided by K.N. Roy Chengappa, University of Pittsburgh:
Schizophrenia
Sensoril
Withania Somnifera extract
Total/ Positive / Negative Symptoms
Stress
Inflammation
Immunomodulation
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Schizophrenia
Psychotic Disorders
Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders
Mental Disorders
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Immunologic Factors
Adjuvants, Immunologic
Physiological Effects of Drugs