Drug Therapy

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  • Drug Therapy
    • Principles
      • Antipsychotic Drugs
        • Treats schizophrenia
        • Conventional
          • Block the action of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain by binding to dopamine receptors
          • Combats the psoitive symptoms of schizophrenia (eg, delusions, hallucinations)
          • Side effect: tardive dyskinesia (involuntary movements of mouth and tongue)
        • Atypical
          • eg. Clozaril
          • Temporarily occupy dopamine receptors, and then rapidly dissociating to allow normal dopamine transmission
          • Lower levels of side effects
      • Antidepressant Drugs
        • Low serotonin levels cause depression
        • Reduce the rate of reabsorption or by blocking the enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitters
        • Most common: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac
          • Block the transporter mechanism that reabsorbs serotonin into the presynaptic cell
      • Antianxiety Drugs
        • Benzodiazepines (BZs) slow down activity of central nervous system by enhancing the biochemical substance GABA
        • Beta-blockers (BBs) reduce the activity of adrenaline and noradrenaline. They bind to receptors on the cell of the heart which slows heat rate
    • Evaluation: Effectiveness
      • Drugs vs Placebo
        • Soomro et al (2008) reviewed 17 studies of the use of SSRIs with OCD and found them to be more effective than the placebo in reducing its symptoms
        • Koran et al (2007) says evaluation of treatment is only three to four months long and therefore little long-term data exists
      • Side effects
        • Nausea, headache and insomnia are common side effects of SSRIs (Soomro et al 2008)
      • Symptoms not cause
        • Drugs may be effective in treating the symptoms of psychological disorders, this type of therapy does not address the underlying cause
        • 'Revolving door syndrome' - a patient is back and forth to their doctor as their disorder is never really cured
      • Comparison with other treatments
        • Drug therapy is a cheaper alternative than other therapies
    • Evaluation: Ethics
      • Use of placebos
        • No patient should be given a treatment known to be inferior
      • Patient information
        • Medical professionals may withhold some information about the drugs
        • Patients might not be in the right frame of mind to understand the potential side effects




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