Atypical Anti-psychotic Drugs
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Give and example of an atypical anti psychotic drug and describe its function
- Reduces dopamine levels in the brain but also blocks serotonin receptors
- Temporarily blocks D2 receptors then rapidly detaches to allow normal dopamine transmission
How might the function of atypical drugs minimise side effects?
The D2 receptors are only blocked for a short period of time meaning the brain can function normally for the rest of the time
When are atypical drugs used?
When symptoms do not improve through the use of conventional medication
Why haven't atypical drugs replaced conventional ones if the side effects are less common?
- Atypical drugs can cause Agranulocytosis, a life threatening condition that suppresses bone marrow development
- This reduces the white blood cell count, leading to a higher risk of infection
How are patients screened for Agranulocytosis?
They are given blood tests for the first 6 months of atypical medication
What did Meltzer find in 1999?
Up to 66% of schizophrenics with stubborn symptoms resistant to conventional anti psychotic drugs responded with 12 months of Clozapine treatment
What did Leuch et al find in 1999?
- A meta analysis of studies done in 1999 was conducted
- The superiority of atypical drugs was only moderate
What did Leuch find regarding negative symptoms?
- It was claimed that atypical drugs were particularly effective with type 2 symptoms (catatonic state etc)
- 2 atypical drugs were 'slightly more effective' than conventional drugs
- 1 was 'as effective'
- 1 was 'slightly worse'
How are atypical drugs sometimes preferable for patients?
- They have fewer side effects such as tardive dyskinesia
- This makes patients more likely to continue drug treatment as it is not as traumatic
- This means patients are more likely to experience symptomatic relief
Give examples of atypical drug side effects
- Agranulocytosis (potentially fatal)
- Weight gain
- Excessive salivation
- Irregular heartbeat
Why are newer drugs such as Risperidone rarely used?
They are very expensive
What would you like to do?
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