A study of the potential confounding effects of diet, caffeine, nicotine and lorazepam on the stability of plasma and urinary homovanillic acid levels in patients with schizophrenia

Craig L. Donnelly, Joseph P. McEvoy, William H. Wilson, Nedarthur Narasimhachari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Ten men inpatients who met DSM-III-R criteria for schizophrenia participated. On five occasions at least one week apart, each subject had an intravenous line placed at 0730 afer an overnight fast. On each occasion blood samples were drawn at 0800 and hourly thereafter through 1200 noon for measurement of plasma homovanillic acid (HVA). Total four-hour urine collections were obtained for measurement of urinary HVA. Subjects received five experimental conditions, in randomized sequence; no intervention, smoking one cigarette per hour, drinking one caffeinated cola per hour, lorazepam 2 mg IV push, or a high monoamine meal. Baseline (0800) plasma HVA measures showed only minor intrinsic variability. The average standard deviation in baseline plasma HVA over five occasions of measurement was low relative to the changes in HVA produced during treatment with antipsychotic medications. The high monoamine meal significantly elevated plasma HVA, with a similar trend for urinary HVA. Neither caffeine, nicotine, nor lorazepam significantly affected plasma or urinary HVA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1218-1221
Number of pages4
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 1996
Externally publishedYes



  • caffeine
  • homovanillic acid
  • lorazepam
  • nicotine
  • schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

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