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Next Gen Schizophrenia Drugs Will Mitigate Symptoms

Aim for Next-Gen Schizophrenia Drugs Is Dimming Symptoms Without Side Effects

A recently published study suggests a new class of drug may act as a dimmer switch to control schizophrenia.

The approach is heralded as a method to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia without some of the side effects associated with current anti-psychotic medicines.

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder that affects one percent of the general population; however, it occurs in 10 percent of people who have a first-degree relative with the disorder, such as a parent, brother, or sister.

The medical condition disturbs a person’s ability to think, feel, and act and is associated with distressing symptoms including hallucinations and delusions.

Researcher Dr. Rob Lane said all current anti-psychotic medicines block the action of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, at a brain protein called the dopamine D2 receptor, resulting in serious side effects.

“These medications frequently result in serious side effects because this protein is also important for the control of movement. The side-effects can sometimes persist even after the patient has stopped taking the medication,” said Lane.

Co-lead researcher Arthur Christopoulos, Ph.D., said gaining a better understanding of the biology of schizophrenia will lead to more effective drugs.

“The idea behind our research is to develop a drug that doesn’t completely block dopamine. We found a molecule that, rather than blocking the effect of dopamine at the D2 receptor, acts to subtly dial down dopamine’s effect, a bit like a dimmer switch,” Christopoulos said.

“This means that if we can get just the right amount of dial-down, we could treat the symptoms of the disease and avoid some of these side-effects.

“We’re a long way yet from developing a drug, but our dimmer switch approach to controlling schizophrenia means it’s conceivable we could have a whole new class of anti-psychotics in the future.”

As published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, the research team also found a unique twist with the molecule, its mechanism of action changed depending on the arrangement of the D2 receptor in the brain.

Lane believes this represents a new approach to develop anti-psychotics, as it gives researchers more information about the protein involved in the disease.

“This extra information will help researchers develop new drugs that target the protein.”

Source: Monash University

 

Medication photo by shutterstock.

Aim for Next-Gen Schizophrenia Drugs Is Dimming Symptoms Without Side Effects

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Aim for Next-Gen Schizophrenia Drugs Is Dimming Symptoms Without Side Effects. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2014/08/12/next-gen-schizophrenia-drugs-will-mitigate-symptoms/73519.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.