Schizophrenia: a review of neuropharmacology
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The last few decades have seen significant advances in our understanding of the neurochemical basis of schizophrenia.
To describe the neurotransmitter systems and nerve circuits implicated in schizophrenia; to compare the neuropharmacology of typical and atypical anti-psychotic agents; and to describe recent developments in the pharmacological treatment of schizophrenia.
Relevant pharmacological, neurophysiological and psychiatric literature was examined and reviewed.
Schizophrenia is associated with abnormalities of multiple neurotransmitter systems, including dopamine, serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid and glutamate. Typical and atypical antipsychotic agents differ in their receptorbinding affinities, which are related to their differing side-effect profiles. Novel therapeutic strategies include normalisation of synaptic dopamine or serotonin levels, serotonin receptor antagonism and modulation of cerebral protein synthesis.
The ideal treatment for schizophrenia may not be a single pharmacological agent but several agents that match the different expressions of the illness, in combination with psycho-social interventions.
KeywordsSchizophrenia Clozapine Olanzapine Quetiapine Ventral Tegmental Area
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