P1vital CNS Experimental Medicine : SCHIZOPHRENIA OVERVIEW

'Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear' by Vincent van Gogh. Many believe van Gogh suffered from schizophrenia. READ MORE:

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disease. Approximately 1% of the US population develops schizophrenia during their lifetime and more than 2 million Americans suffer from the illness in any given year. It is equally frequent in men and women but has an earlier onset in men (late teens/early twenties) than women (twenties/early thirties).

People with schizophrenia often suffer terrifying symptoms such as hearing voices not heard by others, or believing that other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. These symptoms may leave them fearful and withdrawn. The severity of the symptoms and long-lasting, chronic pattern of schizophrenia often cause a high degree of disability.

Antipsychotic drugs are often very effective in treating certain symptoms of schizophrenia, particularly hallucinations and delusions; unfortunately, the drugs may not be as helpful with other symptoms, such as reduced motivation and emotional expressiveness.

Despite recent new drug approvals the most successful current antipsychotic therapies (e.g. risperidone, olanzepine, aripiprazole) have significant limitations. Many patients are treatment resistant particularly to their negative symptoms and most drugs have a slow onset of action with problematical side-effects including motor complications and weight gain. Therefore, there is a need for a rapid onset, well-tolerated treatment. Registration trials require large numbers of patients due to placebo effects and thus there is considerable potential for Experimental Medicine studies to select the best compound(s) for late stage trials.