A Novel Antipsychotic

For my first blog post I want to talk about… this incredible new antipsychotic that just came on the market. I realize this is a bit esoteric (and random), but I’ve been following this medication since I was in my third year of medical school at Georgetown. It has a completely different mechanism of action from other antipsychotics (think Haldol or Abilify) and has fewer movement side effects compared to other antipsychotics.

So, brief review, antipsychotics are a class of medication used to treat psychotic disorders. Most psychotic disorders are believed to result from overactivity of dopamine (a neurotransmitter). Thus, antipsychotics work by blocking the action of dopamine in the brain. The issue? blocking dopamine can cause movement issues and can exacerbate movement disorders. Certain movement disorders are associated with psychosis creating quite the conundrum for physicians trying to help treat the patient’s psychosis but not wanting to make the patient’s movement condition worse.

A hopeful new solution? Pimavanserin. Pimavanserin is a novel type of antipsychotic that works on serotonin (another neurotransmitter) and has shown to have antipsychotic efficacy without the movement side effects. This is great news for people with Parkinson’s Disease, Lewy Body Dementia or even patients with primary psychotic disorders who are prone to movement side effects.

As a third year med student, I remember being so nerdily excited about the possibilities of this antipsychotic.  As a psychiatry intern at UCLA, I’m incredibly excited to be able to live this out.

More after the jump: Link