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Risperidone lowers serum interleukin-6 levels in schizophrenia

Key clinical point: Risperidone can significantly lower serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels in patients with schizophrenia; IL-6 is a potential biomarker of the pathophysiology and clinical processes of schizophrenia.

Major finding: Risperidone therapy was associated with a significant reduction in serum IL-6 levels in patients with schizophrenia (standardized mean difference, −0.506; P = .021).

Study details: Meta-analysis of 10 studies including 546 patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders.

Disclosures: The study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Yunnan Science and Technology Department—Kunming Medical University Applied Basic Research Joint Special Fund Project, Yunnan province philosophy and social science planning project, and Yunnan health training project of high-level talents. The authors declared no conflict of interest.


"Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a major cytokine which plays a role in brain development and plasticity and such important biological functions as sleep and the stress response. Increased levels of blood IL-6 have linked schizophrenia to immunological status. An emerging literature suggests that antipsychotic drugs, including risperidone, may have a direct effect on inflammatory status which may be identified by changes in cytokine levels associated with antipsychotic therapy.

This systematic literature review focused specifically on the antipsychotic drug risperidone and associated IL-6 changes. Overall, findings add support for the general notion that IL-6 is a potential biomarker for evaluating the efficacy of schizophrenia treatments. The correlation between cytokine levels and psychopathology has potential to inform research on new immune-regulatory strategies for the treatment of patients with schizophrenia."

Martha Sajatovic, MD
Professor of Psychiatry and of Neurology
Willard Brown Chair in Neurological Outcomes Research
Director, Neurological and Behavioral Outcomes Center, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine


Feng Z et al. Medicine (Baltimore). 2020;99(15):e19694. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000019694.