Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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

That is the title of this article about a new class of drugs for schizophrenia. “
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 of sister. The medical condition disturbs a person’s ability to think, feel, and act and is associated with distressing symptoms including hallucinations and delusions.”  I do remember the side effects when I was on Moban.  I could not drink coffee on Stelazine I would shake.  I know a lot of people with schizophrenia have these side effects and they cannot get relief from them.

The article goes on to say: “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.”  Let’s really hope so because the side-effects can make you stop using anti-psychotics.  A person does not always want to be twitching.  Even if you get off the medication it can still last. I hope they can find a dimmer switch.
The article goes on to say: “The idea behind our research is to develop a drug that doesn’t completely block dopamine at the D2 receptor, acts to subtly dial down dopamine’s effect, a  bit like a dimmer switch,’ Christipoulos 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.”  Things always take time.  We get older although if it helps someone down the line I believe that is great. I know this takes time although once they figure out what helps than they can get on to figuring how to stop the negative symptoms that trouble so many schizophrenics.

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