Saffron aqueous extract prevents metabolic syndrome in patients with schizophrenia on olanzapine treatment: a randomized triple blind placebo controlled study

F Fadai, B Mousavi, Z Ashtari, N Ali beigi, S Farhang, S Hashempour, N Shahhamzei, S Zahra Bathaie

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42 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess whether saffron aqueous extract (SAE) or its active constituent, crocin, prevents olanzapine-induced metabolic syndrome (MetS) and insulin resistance in patients with schizophrenia.

METHODS: 66 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia who were on olanzapine treatment (5-20 mg daily) were randomly allocated to receive a capsule of SAE (n=22; 30 mg daily), crocin (n=22; 30 mg daily) or placebo (n=22) in a 12-week triple-blind trial. Patients were screened not to have MetS at baseline and further assessment was done at weeks 6 and 12. Measurement of fasting blood glucose (FBS) and serum lipids were repeated at weeks 2, 6 and 12. Fasting blood levels of insulin and HbA1c were also measured at baseline and week 12. HOMA-IR and HOMA-β were determined to evaluate insulin resistance.

RESULTS: 61 patients completed the trial and no serious adverse effects were reported. Time-treatment interaction showed a significant difference in FBS in both SAE and crocin groups compared to placebo (p=0.004). In addition, SAE could effectively prevent reaching the criteria of metabolic syndrome (0 patients) compared to crocin (9.1%) and placebo (27.3%) as early as week 6.

CONCLUSION: SAE could prevent metabolic syndrome compared to crocin and placebo. Furthermore, both SAE and crocin prevented increases in blood glucose during the study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-161
Number of pages6
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Blood Glucose
  • Carotenoids
  • Crocus
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome X
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Extracts
  • Schizophrenia
  • Waist Circumference
  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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