Biological therapies for schizophrenia: Drug therapy

  • Biological therapies for schizophrenia: Drug therapy:
  • AO1:
  • Typical Antipsychotics: Dopamine antagonists:
  • Typical anti-psychotic drugs (chlorpromazine) have been around since the 1950's. They work by acting as antagonists in the dopamine ystem ans aim to reduce the action of dopamine - they are strongly associated with the dopamine hypothesis.
  • Dopamine antagonists work by blocking dopamine receptors in the synapses in the brain, reducing the action of dopamine. Initially, dopamine levels build up after taking chlorprozamine, but then production is reduced. This normalises neurotransmission in key areas if the brain, which in turn reduces the symptoms, such as hallucinations. 
  • Chloprozamine also has an effect on histmaine receports which appears to lead to a sedation effect. Therefore it is also used to calm anxious patients when they are first admitted to hospital. 
  • Atypical antipsychotics target dopamine and serotonin:
  • Atypical antipsychotics such as Clozapine have been used since the 1970's. The aim of these drugs was to improve effectiveness of drugs in suppressing psychoses such as schizophrenia and also minimise the side effects. They typically target a range of neuraotransmitters including dopamine and serotonin. 
  • Clozapine binds to dopamine receptors as Chlorpromazine does but also acts on serotonin and glutamine receptors. This drug was more effective than typical antipsychotics - cloapine reduces depresssion and anxiety in patents as well as improving cognitive funtioning. It also improves mood, which is important as up to 50% of people suffering from schizophrenia attempt suicide. 
  • Risperidone is as effective as clozapine but safer:
  • Risperidone was developed because clozapine was involved in the deaths of


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