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A New Drug for Schizophrenia

Essay by   •  January 18, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  805 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,435 Views

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A New Drug for Schizophrenia

An individual afflicted by schizophrenia. is attributed to abnormalities in medial temporal brain structure (Mayo Clinic, 2012). Schizophrenia is associated with changes in brain neurochemistry and neuroanatomy. Definitive features of schizophrenia include delusions and having auditory hallucinations. Additional characteristics of this disorder include anxiety, violence, aloofness, verbal confrontations, patronizing manner, anger, and suicidal thoughts or behavior (Mayo Clinic, 2012).

Remington et al. (2011) state that the effective treatment of schizophrenia is comparative to a dopamine blockade of D2 receptors. Research suggests the previously known theory of schizophrenia as being a hyperdopaminergic disorder, where treatment is managed by antipsychotics. In context of the Remington study, schizophrenia is not recognized as a hyperdopaminergic disorder. Rather, it is distinguished as a hypodopaminergic disorder. This new approach in the pathophysiology of the disorder may represent a theoretical shift in how the disorder is researched, but also in how it is treated (Remington, Agid, & Foussias, 2011). Dopamine therapy, not blockage, may be warranted for treating the underlying basis of the disorder.

The design of a new drug for schizophrenia must take into account the main dopamine pathways in the brain and their function. The mesolimbic pathway is associated with reward and cognition, while the nigrostriatal pathway is associated with movement and memory. If schizophrenia were a hypodopamingergic disorder (hence the over the top compensating reward-seeking and problematic behaviors), then offering a dopamine drug designed to attach to D2 receptors should result in a presentation of decreased stereotypic movement disorders, improved catatonic-related movement, and decreased sensory seeking that may occur with seeking conflict or engaging in odd behavior in order to stimulate a natural dopamine rush to the system common to schizophrenics (Rao, Kellom, Reese, Rapoport, & Kim, 2012).

Pharmacodynamics

To be effective in treating this disorder, the new drug must have the following properties:

1. Attach to D2 receptors in the brain;

2. Increase the concentration of brain dopamine in the synaptic gap;

3. Produce metabolites that may be beneficial to the person, such as N-Desmethylclozapine. N-Desmethylclozapine supports the action at several dopamine receptors, and acts as a partial agonist for opioid receptors (Remington, Agid, & Foussias, 2011).

4. Produce behavioral changes resulting in improved symptoms for the patient.

Clinically speaking, this particular action upon behaviors would lead to a reduction in the maladjusted behavior of a person attempting to create a dopamine-elevating situation.

Pharmacokinetics

The desired pharmacokinetic properties would be thus:

1. Have a high absorption rate and thus bioavailability rate of at least 70%.

2. Reach peak concentrations quickly.

3. Have an elimination half-life of 14 days, ideally.

4. Not be subject to food or drink restrictions.

Therefore the ideal vehicle for a D2 receptor agonist would be one that adds dopamine to the system quickly, and can be sustained in concentration easily. The method of delivery would be a patch worn for 7 days at a

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