Methods to improve neurocognitive impairments are of important research interest. This study sought to examine the synergistic effects of neurocognitive rehabilitation and antipsychotics for schizophrenia.
Subjects were 43 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder in a randomized trial of the effects of neurocognitive rehabilitation or a quasi-randomized experimental trial of supported employment with neurocognitive rehabilitation. We compared the effects of risperidone and aripiprazole in neurocognitive rehabilitation for schizophrenia. Subjects were divided into the following groups: (i) the control-risperidone group (CR group) (n = 13); (ii) the rehabilitation-risperidone group (RR group) (n = 9); (iii) the control-aripiprazole group (CA group) (n = 10); and (iv) the rehabilitation-aripiprazole group (RA group) (n = 11). Subjects in the rehabilitation group were engaged in computer-based cognitive exercises (24 sessions) with bridging group (12 sessions) over 12 weeks. Psychiatric symptoms, neurocognitive functioning and social functioning assessments were evaluated at baseline and at 12 weeks.
A two-way anova with neurocognitive rehabilitation and antipsychotic medication as factors revealed a significant interaction effect on motor speed. Working memory and motor speed significantly improved in the RA group compared with the CA group. We found no significant improvements between the CR group and the RR group.
A synergistic effect of neurocognitive rehabilitation and aripiprazole was observed as improvement of motor speed. In patients treated with aripiprazole, neurocognitive rehabilitation appeared to improve working memory and motor speed. Further studies of synergistic effects of neurocognitive rehabilitation and antipsychotic medication are necessary to verify these findings.