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Acute Psychosis and Plasma Catecholamine Metabolites

Malcolm B. Bowers Jr, MD; Mary E. Swigar, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1987;44(2):190. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1987.01800140102016.
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To the Editor.—  We initially reported1 that females with nonorganic psychoses showed elevations in fasting plasma free homovanillic acid (HVA) levels. We subsequently found increased plasma HVA levels in some psychotic males also and increased plasma free methoxyhydroxyphenylethylene glycol (MHPG) levels in some psychotic males and females.2 Neuroleptic treatment was associated with a decline in these plasma catecholamine metabolites over a two- to three-week period, and high pretreatment values correlated with a favorable early neuroleptic response.3 Others have reported similar results in schizophrenic patients.4-6We have now obtained fasting plasma free HVA and MHPG values for 379 consecutive inpatient admissions, of whom 133 patients were given nonorganic psychotic diagnoses. The following DSM-III diagnostic groups were included: schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, schizoaffective disorder, mania with psychosis, major depression with psychosis, atypical psychosis, paranoid disorder, and brief reactive psychosis. The control groups included all other male and female patients


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