The majority of new schizophrenia market medications have relied on targets similar to antipsychotics initially licensed in the 1950s. However, several emerging late-stage medicines have the potential to disrupt what has hitherto been a static field.
Many of these medicines have encountered obstacles in development, but researchers remain optimistic. "We might be on the verge of something major in schizophrenia," says Dr. Joshua Kantrowitz, head of the Columbia Schizophrenia Research Center.
Currently licensed antipsychotics are agonists of the dopamine type 2 (D2) receptor, which can induce undesired side effects include weight gain and metabolic abnormalities. There is a great need for schizophrenia medications with new processes and symptom targets, University of Maryland psychiatrist Dr William Carpenter says.