Introduction

Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental health condition. Patients usually present with hallucinations, delusions and disorganised speech or thinking. The exact causes behind schizophrenia are somewhat unclear, but it is thought that it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors. However, it is known that sufferers of schizophrenia all have an increased amount of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, in the brain. Antipsychotic drugs generally work on this pathway, by decreasing this dopamine excess.

Antipsychotics were first discovered in the 1950s, and some are still in use today. These were termed typical antipsychotics. More recent research and developments have provided atypical antipsychotics, such as Risperidone (risperdal).

Risperdal Tablets and Packaging

The first antipsychotic was clorpromazine, and was discovered for use as an anaesthetic in surgery. It emerged as an antipsychotic due to its potent calming effects on patients, which led to its use for the treatment of schizophrenia and psychosis. There are many side effects associated with taking antipsychotics, such as many movement disorders, decreased blood pressure and increased heart rate. Their use is therefore somewhat controversial, as is shown by the drug's regular appearance in the news. It is recognised that they are not a perfect treatment, merely the best treatment that modern science can offer.


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons under creative commons license: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Risperdal_tablets.jpg
Banner image courtesy of Flickr under creative commons license: http://flickr.com/photos/anael_raziel/2076241485

 


Fact

Contrary to belief in the media, people who have schizophrenia are rarely dangerous. Any violent behaviour is usually caused by illegal drugs or alcohol, which is similar to people who don’t suffer from schizophrenia. Schizophrenics are at least 14 times more often the victims of crime than they are perpetrators.


News

28/08/2008 00:00

Increased Risk of Strokes with Antipsychotic Drugs

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal stated that all types of antipsychotics increase the risk of strokes in all patients, not just dementia patients, as previously thought. Patients without dementia taking any sort of antipsychotic had a 40% increase in risk. The latest...

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08/05/2008 00:00

Prescription of Antipsychotics to Children on the Rise

The prescription of antipsychotics by GPs has almost doubled between 1992 and 2005, most notably in children aged 7 to 12 years of age. The findings have sparked off fears amoungst experts who warn that antipsychotics should be used with great caution in children due to their developing...

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01/04/2008 00:00

Antipsychotics Detrimental to Alzheimers Sufferers

Antipsychotics are prescribed to around 60% of Alzheimers patients in nursing homes to control behaviour. Research showed that antipsychotics actually have no beneficial effects and actually reduced the patient's verbal fluency over a 6 month period. Read more...

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21/11/2004 00:00

Antipsychotics Treat Progressive Brain Disease

Some types of antipsychotic can be used to treat a brain virus named progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy or PML. It affects people with weakened immune systems, such as people with Aids or organ transplant patients. Three antipsychotic drugs were tested, and clozapine appeared to be most...

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