Safety and tolerability of antipsychotics: focus on amisulpride
Mario F Juruena1, Eduardo Pondé de Sena2, Irismar Reis de Oliveira3
1Stress and Affective Disorders Programme, Department of Neuroscience and Behaviour, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirao Preto, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil; 2Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Health Sciences, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador; 3Department of Neurosciences and Mental Health, School of Medicine, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, BA, Brazil
Abstract: The introduction of the atypical antipsychotic drugs represents an important advance in the treatment of schizophrenia, because the therapeutic efficacy, tolerability, and safety profiles of these agents seem to be superior to that of the classical neuroleptics. As would be predicted from the pharmacologic profile of a pure D2/D3 receptor blocker, amisulpride is an atypical antipsychotic agent, effective for positive and negative symptoms, which can bring about additional improvement in the social functioning and quality of life of patients with schizophrenia. Amisulpride is effective in acute schizophrenia as determined by Clinical Global Impression scores. The major concern regarding the safety of the atypical antipsychotics is related to their propensity to induce weight gain and alter glucose and lipid metabolism. Amisulpride has one of the lowest potentials for weight gain of all the antipsychotic agents, and is associated with clearly lower use of antiparkinsonian medication and with fewer dropouts due to adverse events than conventional antipsychotics. Amisulpride is well tolerated with regard to anxiety and insomnia, and not notably different from placebo. Amisulpride has a pronounced prolactin-elevating effect which appears to be independent of dosage and duration of administration. Hyperprolactinemia rapidly reverses following amisulpride discontinuation. Amisulpride benefits patients with negative symptoms, and is the only antipsychotic to demonstrate efficacy in patients with predominantly negative symptoms. Amisulpride maintains its efficacy when used for medium/long-term treatment, as demonstrated in studies of up to 12 months. In terms of relevance of the effects, superiority is observed for quality of life, social adaptation, and functioning, as measured by the Quality of Life and Functional Status Questionnaire scales. In conclusion, amisulpride is an antipsychotic agent with proven efficacy and good tolerability. Moreover, this drug can help people with schizophrenia to attain social reinsertion.
Keywords: amisulpride, antipsychotic agents, safety, adverse events, tolerability
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