Atypical antipsychotic profile of flunarizine in animal models
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Flunarizine is known as a calcium channel blocker commonly used in many countries to treat migraine and vertigo. Parkinsonism has been described as one of its side-effects in the elderly, which is in agreement with its recently characterized moderate D2 receptor antagonism.
To perform a pre-clinical evaluation of flunarizine as a potential antipsychotic.
We evaluated the action of orally administered flunarizine in mice against hyperlocomotion induced by amphetamine and dizocilpine (MK-801) as pharmacological models of schizophrenia, induction of catalepsy as a measure for extrapyramidal symptoms and impairment induced by dizocilpine on the delayed alternation task for working memory.
Flunarizine robustly inhibited hyperlocomotion induced by both amphetamine and dizocilpine at doses that do not reduce spontaneous locomotion (3–30 mg/kg). Mild catalepsy was observed at 30 mg/kg, being more pronounced at 50 mg/kg and 100 mg/kg. Flunarizine (30 mg/kg) improved dizocilpine-induced impairment on the delayed alternation test.
These results suggest a profile comparable to atypical antipsychotics. The low cost, good tolerability and long half-life (over 2 weeks) of flunarizine are possible advantages for its use as an atypical antipsychotic. These results warrant clinical trials with flunarizine for the treatment of schizophrenia.
KeywordsFlunarizine Amphetamine Dizocilpine Locomotion Antipsychotic Schizophrenia
This work was supported by grants of CNPq and CAPES.
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