New medications found effective in treating schizophrenia
WASHINGTON, May 12, 2014 — Schizophrenia, a long misunderstood mental disease, now has two new treatments that can greatly help those afflicted to live a better quality of life.
One treatment is a long used medicine for gastric reflux or GERD and was discovered at the University of Helsinki by a study teamed by Professor Jesper Ekelund as effective for schizophrenia. The generic name for this medication is famotidine which is sold retail as Pepcid AC and deregulated as a prescription drug in 2003.
The research team found that when used in doses of 200 milligrams, the medication penetrated what is known as the blood-brain barrier (BBB).
The BBB is a wonder of nature in that the endothelium, which is comprised of endothelial cells, forms a layer of protection for the brain by disallowing pathogens, infection, most virus and bacteria from attacking the brain directly.
The drawback with the BBB is most medications cannot pass through either.
When increasing the famotidine by five-fold, the medication passes through the BBB and after only one week; symptoms of schizophrenia decreased and after one month, were significantly attenuated.
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Famotidine works for schizophrenia in the same manner it works for GERD by blocking the H2 histamine receptor which serves as a regulator of other signaling substances.
A second medication is Abilify Maintena, developed by Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, Europe LTD, which is an anti-psychotic best applied by injection. With a recorded 8.3 percent as relapsing to schizoid episodes, the medication shows substantial, long term promise.
The mechanism of how Abilify Maintena works is unknown but what is known is the medicine disrupts neurotransmitter signals possibly aiding in the prevention of scattered signaling.
In terms of famotidine, the medication is over-the-counter but this does not mean anyone should run out to the store, buy it and self-dose 200 mg’s without consulting their physician.
Paul Mountjoy is a Virginia based psychotherapist