Olanzapine safety and efficacy in patients with borderline personality disorder and comorbid dysthymia

S. Charles Schulz, Kelly L. Camlin, Sally A. Berry, John A. Jesberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


Background: Numerous medications have been tested in patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and/or schizotypal personality disorder (SPD). Although many of the medications tested have been demonstrated to be useful, no clear main treatment for BPD has emerged. Despite the efficacy of some of the medicines, acceptability and side effects have proven to be barriers to the use of medication. Therefore, an open-label olanzapine trial utilizing objective ratings was performed. Methods: Patients suffering from BPD and dysthymia were included in an 8-week, open-label study of olanzapine monotherapy. The first 4 weeks of the trial allowed for flexible dosing; during the last 4 weeks, olanzapine dose was held constant. Patients were rated on Hopkins Symptoms Checklist 90 (SCL-90), Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), Global Assessment of Function (GAF), Barratt Impulsivity Scale (BIS 11), and Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory (BDHI). Results: Eleven patients completed at least 2 weeks; nine of the patients finished the entire trial. There was a robust and statistically significant reduction in the five global ratings. Within the global ratings, symptoms of psychoticism, depression, interpersonal sensitivity, and anger were among the symptoms to be reduced. No movement disorder symptoms were noted for any of the patients. Conclusions: In this open-label pilot study, patients treated with olanzapine showed statistically significant reduction in self-rated and clinician-rated scales. Symptoms associated with BPD and dysthymia were among those to be substantially reduced. Further studies to explore olanzapine's efficacy versus placebo, as well as comparison to other potential treatments for BPD, are important next steps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1429-1435
Number of pages7
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 15 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was presented at the conference, “Schizophrenia: From Molecule to Public Policy,” held in Santa Fe, New Mexico in October 1998. The conference was sponsored by the Society of Biological Psychiatry through an unrestricted educational grant provided by Eli Lilly and Company.


  • Atypical antipsychotic
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Dysthymia
  • Olanzapine


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