BACKGROUND: The prevalence of stuttering is approximately 1% of the population, affecting an estimated 3 million individuals in the United States. The dopamine hypothesis of stuttering explains that abnormally increased cerebral dopamine affects the balanced levels that maintain the basal ganglia circuits, which helps with timing cues in initiating speech. This is especially significant when considering treatment strategies. We report a reduction in stuttering with lurasidone, a potent D2 receptor antagonist with a relatively favorable adverse effects profile.
METHODS: We conducted a non-randomized, open-label study of lurasidone in patients with stuttering (N = 7). Patients self-reported stuttering severity, locus of control, and avoidance using the Subjective Screening of Stuttering (SSS) scale and were assessed with the Clinical Global Impression (CGI) Scale.
RESULTS: We observed a notable, statistically significant improvement in all areas of stuttering, as rated by the SSS scale. According to the CGI-Improvement Scale, 2 patients were scored as “very much improved” and 5 were scored as “much improved.”
CONCLUSIONS: This open-label study of lurasidone in patients with stuttering showed improvement in subjective symptoms, in CGI scores, and on the SSS scale.