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Why antipsychotics need time to kick in

Insight into how drugs work may explain the delayed action of medications for schizophrenia

3:44pm, June 6, 2012

New details about how some drugs for schizophrenia accumulate in the brain may help explain why patients often must wait for weeks for the medications to work.

Because many commonly used antipsychotics such as haloperidol and clozapine quickly latch onto their targets, it would seem that the drugs should bring fast relief.

“But there’s always a side story,” says neuroscientist Michael Cousin of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. “There’s another layer of complexity.”

Researchers led by Teja Groemer of Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany illuminate this process in the June 7 Neuron by describing how the buildup of certain drugs in the brain may have underappreciated consequences for their effectiveness.

The idea that drugs accumulate in the brain isn’t totally new; other scientists have suggested that antipsychotic drugs can pile up in certain places, Groemer say

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