Ethnopharmacological relevance: Obesity in patients with schizophrenia is related to antipsychotic drug use, hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia, which are critical risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Cassia seed is a traditional Chinese medicine that can be used to treat various eye disorders. Anthraquinone-containing Cassia seed were used to lower serum levels of fat and cholesterol.
Aim of study: The effects of Cassia seed powder on body weight and lipids were investigated in overweight or obese patients with schizophrenia.
Methods: The present study was designed as a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial. Ninety-four patients with schizophrenia who were overweight or obese were assigned to a control group (CG, 47 patients) and treatment group (TG, 47 patients) that received low dose Cassia seed power (0.3 g once daily) and Cassia seed powder (3.0 g once daily), respectively, for 36 weeks. The main outcome was the change in body mass index and waist circumference (WC). The secondary outcome was the change in serum lipids, C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and glycated hemoglobin.
Results: Seventy-four patients completed the study (n = 36, CG; n = 38, TG). Waist circumference was significantly lower at the second (24 weeks, 98.63 ± 9.44 vs 95.80 ± 10.26 cm, p = 0.023), third (36 weeks, 98.35 ± 9.46 vs 95.05 ± 10.07 cm, p = 0.002), and fourth (48 weeks, 98.78 ± 9.48 vs 93.73 ± 10.28 cm, p < 0.001) follow-ups than at baseline in the TG, but only significantly lower than baseline at the fourth follow-up (100.78 ± 13.98 vs 94.03 ± 9.74 cm, p = 0.006); no significant difference in CG was observed at both the second (101.03 ± 13.62 vs 97.35 ± 8,29 cm, p = 0.08) and third (100.55 ± 13.69 vs 96.55 ± 8.29 cm, p = 0.066) follow-up.
The difference in serum total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels between the baseline and the third follow-up was greater in the TG than in the CG (149.68 ± 34.85 vs 179.08 ± 75.87 mg/dL, p = 0.033; 84.40 ± 28.06 vs102.08 ± 34.12 mg/dL, p = 0.015, respectively).
Conclusion: In patients with schizophrenia who were overweight or obese, oral administration of Cassia seed powder (3.0 g) for 24 weeks and 36 weeks reduced waist circumference, and oral administration of Cassia seed powder for 36 weeks reduced total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels, suggesting that Cassia seed powder aids the management of patients with schizophrenia who are overweight or obese. However, these results are preliminary, and future studies should use larger sample sizes, multiple testing centers, and multiple dosing.