Schizophrenia is an intricate, chronic mental and psychiatric disorder linked with a group of weakening symptoms. It is characterized by weak emotional responses, disruption of thinking and deficient physical and social motivation. This disorder is caused due to neurotrauma, environment, alcohol, and drug abuse, malignancies, imbalance in complex chemical reactions of the brain, and genes, along with several others. Patients suffering from schizophrenia experience instability in the neurotransmitters, for instance dopamine and serotonin, which enables nerve cells to pass message to each other. Usually the schizophrenia signals are categorized into three types, namely, positive, negative and cognitive. Symptoms of positive schizophrenia comprise of delusions, hallucinations and other thought disorders; negative variant comprises of issues starting and maintaining activities, decreased feelings of pleasure in everyday life, and shortened speech. Whereas, symptoms of cognitive include troubles with concentration and memory, and issue in focusing or paying attention. Besides, restlessness or oversleeping, declension of personal hygiene, depression and suspicious behavior are a few other symptoms of the disease. Research conducted on schizophrenia drugs market, states a fact that in the year 2012, number of schizophrenia cases across the world was estimated to 2.5 million patients.
Schizophrenia Drugs Treatment
Over the past few years, there have been several drugs which have been successfully developed for the treatment of schizophrenia. Unfortunately, all the drugs meant for this disease come along with some kind of side effects, it is mostly a decision of choosing a less severe. For many patients, consuming the medications is the only preferred option. Hence, it assists in controlling the symptoms and reducing the recurrence.
The first-generation anti-psychotics were the first ever drugs approved for treating schizophrenia and they were found more than 50 years ago. Even though the effect of these drugs was positive, they came with extreme extrapyramidal side effects (EPS). This eventually resulted in production of second-generation anti-psychotics which potentially did not carry any risk of EPS and manifested a better clinical benefit in patients. Present Food and Drug Administration (FDA)–approved drugs for schizophrenia focuses on positive symptoms, however lack in the treatment of negative and cognitive symptoms. Potential therapies that comprise of novel long term injectables and medicines with new techniques of aiming negative and cognitive symptoms are in progress to assist patients who can better manage this disease. First antipsychotic drugs were chlorpromazine (Thorazine), haloperidol, fluphenazine, perphenazine, loxapine, and thiothixene. These drugs were termed as ‘neuroleptics’.
The first ever new generation drug, clozapine (Clozaril) is the only drug which has possessed positive effects over any other medications. Also, this drug is less associated with any kind of side effects that have been previously mentioned. Nevertheless, it can develop side effects such as alteration in cholesterol and blood sugar, weight gain, and potential decrease in infection-fighting white blood cells. Also, monitoring blood count every week is very essential.
The signs and symptoms of schizophrenia differ for each individual. The symptoms might slowly incur over months to even years, or in some cases might erupt all of a sudden. The disease might just come and go in relapse. Therefore, getting recovered from this disorder is a lifelong process. Enhanced diagnostic tools, intervention of antipsychotic medications, and developing phase-specific psychosocial treatments have resulted in intervention in patients who are at extremely high risk of developing schizophrenia.
Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.