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Friday 22 December 2000

[Atypical neuroleptics: new approaches to drug therapy of schizophrenic disorders]

By: Hilger E, Kasper S.

Wien Klin Wochenschr 2000 Dec 22;112(24):1031-8

The introduction of conventional antipsychotics revolutionized the management of psychotic disorders in the 1950s. The use of these agents has been marked by several shortcomings, including their association with severe motor disturbances and their limited efficacy in treating the negative and cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia. Patients noncompliance has largely been the result of subjectively distressing extrapyramidal motor side-effects (EPMS). It was therefore necessary to develop antipsychotic drugs with selective pharmacological profiles, e.g. limbic selectivity. A defining characteristic of atypical neuroleptics is a higher ratio of serotonin receptor blockade to D2 receptor blockade. Their primary advantage is their superior side-effect profile. The implications of EPMS reduction touch several domains of pathology in schizophrenia such as short- and long-term movement disorders, noncompliance, relapse rate, negative symptoms and cognitive dysfunction. Novel antipsychotics may represent the second pharmacological revolution in the treatment of psychotic disorders. There is, however, still a need for a critical evaluation of the risk-benefit-ratio of differing atypical agents.

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