Neuroleptics belong to the psychotropic drugs. They are used in psychoses and are therefore also known as antipsychotics.
Neuroleptics have a calming effect and they dampen sensory perception, they are used in psychoses.
Psychoses are mental illnesses in which thinking and perception are disturbed. This can lead to anxiety, agitation, hallucinations or delusions.
Neuroleptics have a calming effect and dampen sensory perception. Depending on the composition, one or the other mode of action predominates. In the brain, the drugs intervene in the transmission of excitation to the synapses and inhibit the neurotransmitter dopamine, which leads to a dampening of nerve activity.
They are also able to react with other neurotransmitters such as noradrenaline, serotonin or histamine. Neuroleptics have a symptomatic effect, i.e. they have no healing effect on the mental illness. They only alleviate the symptoms in the acute state or prevent the disorders from occurring again.
Neuroleptics are divided into weak and strong neuroleptics based on their mode of action. Weakly effective neuroleptics are more calming and less antispsychotic. They are used for anxiety and restlessness, sleep disorders or manias.
If there are real psychoses, powerful neuroleptics are administered. They don't make you so tired and have a stronger dampening effect on nerve activity. They are used, for example, for delusions, schizophrenic states or hallucinations. They are also given for withdrawal symptoms. The patients are subdued in their perception, they experience the environment more distant and the typical symptoms of psychosis disappear.
As a rule, neuroleptics must be taken regularly, that is for life, in diagnosed psychoses. After coping with the acute situation, however, the dose is reduced. Neuroleptics are taken as tablets or injected. It is possible to administer so-called depot injections. These have a duration of four weeks.
Neuroleptics are also used in very low doses before operations to calm anxious patients. For smaller surgical interventions, neuroleptics are used together with special pain relievers. This procedure is more tolerable than general anesthesia and is known as neuroleptanalgesia.
In addition, neuroleptics have antiemetic (reducing the nausea) effect and are therefore used in very strong nausea and vomiting in order to avoid life-threatening conditions.
There are two types of Neuroleptics, typical and atypical. This classification is based on the age of the medication. The older and typical neuroleptics were first used in the 1950s, the best known of this group is haloperidol. When taking these conventional drugs, the patients sometimes had severe side effects in the form of movement disorders.
The newer variant, the atypical neuroleptics, has been around since the 1970s. They are composed differently and no longer cause these side effects or only very slightly. They also act more specifically on the symptoms.
Since neuroleptics, even the newer generation, still cause side effects, attempts are also made to treat psychoses with homeopathic remedies. However, this approach is completely different from treatment with chemical neuroleptics and requires an experienced classical homeopath. To date, however, the effectiveness of homeopathic substances in psychoses has not been scientifically proven.
The question of herbal psychotropic drugs is also becoming more and more common, but no herbal neuroleptics have yet been researched. The Kawa Kawa root is said to have a similar effect to that of neuroleptics, as it is said to have an anxiolytic and calming effect. However, this agent has not been sufficiently researched and is not approved as a medicinal product.
Neuroleptics have various side effects that differ from person to person, even if the newer atypical variant is already much more tolerable than the old typical form. The so-called extrapyramidal motor disorders, which are caused by the old form, are expressed in so-called dyskinesias.
These are sudden movements that the patient cannot control. Furthermore, tremors (tremor) and rigid muscle cramps (rigidity) can occur. A certain lack of exercise can also occur, but also an excessive need for exercise, which means that those affected cannot sit or lie still.
Other side effects of neuroleptics are tiredness, constipation or sweating as well as impaired sexual sensation. Neuroleptics can alter the way white blood cells are produced and they can lead to weight gain. The side effects are much lower with the new atypical drugs. They can occur, but are much weaker.