Prior to 1993, the treatment for mental illnesses was spotty at best. It was understood why those who suffer from schizophrenia thought the way that they do, but the drugs just weren’t available to help treat the condition. Over the years, the treatments improved, and the drugs were better able to treat those who were suffering. |
Typical, or first generation, Antipsychotic Medication
In first half of the 20th century, some barbaric methods were used to help treat those suffering from mental illness. This is where the all-too-true horror stories of the insane asylums came from with stories of seclusion in a padded room, electro-shock therapy, and full-frontal lobotomies.
However, in 1951 the drug chlorpromazine was brought to the market. This typical antipsychotic helped to block the dopamine receptors in the brain and balanced out a patient’s thinking.
Atypical, or second generation, Antipsychotic Medication
Chlorpromazine was the drug of choice for many years. In fact, it wasn’t until 1971 when the drug Clozapine became available.
This atypical antipsychotic medication was far from perfect. While it helped to block both the dopamine and serotonin receptors it had one major drawback. It had a tendency to drastically reduce white blood cell count in the body. After 4 years on the market it was pulled in all but the most extreme cases.
In 1993 Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, was brought to the market. This atypical antipsychotic worked remarkably well, and it didn’t have the deadly side effects. As it was prescribed to more and more people, it was determined that Risperdal wasn’t entirely safe.
In 2007, just before the patent ran out on Risperdal, Janssen came up with a “new” drug. This drug, called Invega, was a metabolite of Risperdal. It had the same effect on the body, and the same side effects. In essence, it was the same drug as Risperdal.
Severe Side Effects
Both drugs have one major drawback. When they are taken by young men, they can lead to a condition known as gynecomastia. This condition causes men to grow breasts. Over time, if left untreated, that breast growth can progress to lactating breasts. The only way to stop gynecomastia is to have the breasts surgically removed.
For those who suffer from mental illness, drugs should only be used when all other measures have been exhausted. Otherwise, some severe and long-lasting side effects may be experienced.
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