The Effects of Guanfacine on Context Processing Abnormalities in Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Margaret M. McClure, Deanna M. Barch, Michelle J. Romero, Michael J. Minzenberg, Joseph Triebwasser, Philip D. Harvey, Larry J. Siever

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Background: The signature of impaired cognition in people with schizotypal personality disorder (SPD) may be centrally related to working memory impairments. Guanfacine, an α2A agonist that acts post-synaptically in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), has shown potential for reducing working memory limitations in other populations. This study examined the potential of guanfacine for improving context processing, a feature of working memory, in SPD. Methods: 29 individuals with SPD entered into a 4-week, randomized parallel-design, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of guanfacine treatment, followed by a 4-week open-label extension. A modified version of the AX-Continuous Performance Test (AX-CPT) was administered. On this task, evidence of intact context processing includes few BX errors (false cue, correct probe) and higher levels of AY errors (correct cue, false probe). Results: At the end of double-blind treatment, participants treated with guanfacine demonstrated a significant reduction in BX errors and a small but significant increase in AY errors, a pattern that was not seen in the participants treated with placebo. Conclusions: SPD participants improved in their context processing toward a normal response bias, making fewer BX and more AY errors, after being treated with guanfacine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1157-1160
Number of pages4
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognition
  • guanfacine
  • pharmacology
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizotypal
  • working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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