Rich Haridy for New Atlas
April 19, 2020
A newly published article in the New England Journal of Medicine is reporting the successful results of a clinical trial testing an experimental drug designed to treat psychosis in schizophrenia. The drug works unlike any other existing anti-psychotic medication, and without many of their negative side effects.
The development of anti-psychotic medication in the mid-20th century was a landmark moment in the field of psychiatry. Chlorpromazine (perhaps better known under its trade name, Thorazine) transformed the treatment of schizophrenia in the 1950s. Before it was developed, lobotomy was consistently used as a treatment for major psychosis.
Chlorpromazine, and most subsequent anti-psychotic medications, work by blocking D2 dopamine receptors in the brain. Decreasing dopamine release in certain parts of the brain can result in a reduction of many acute symptoms of psychosis, including delusions and hallucinations. However, these anti-psychotic medications do not generally help the broad volume of other symptoms associated with schizophrenia, and they often result in a number of short- and long-term side effects.