The history of antipsychotic medications
The first drugs that were effective for the treatment of schizophrenia were developed during the 1950s. They are referred to as conventional or first generation antipsychotics.
There are many different ‘conventional’ antipsychotic drugs, such as haloperidol, chlorpromazine, fluphenazine, pimozide, perphenazine, flupenthixol, zuclopenthixol and trifluoperazine.1 Their main benefit is in treating the positive symptoms of schizophrenia.1 However, these drugs are less effective against the negative symptoms or the mood (affective) symptoms of schizophrenia.1,18 These older medicines are available as tablets, liquids and short- and long-acting injections.1
A number of newer medications for schizophrenia with a broader efficacy against the full range of symptoms of schizophrenia and which can help with patients’ ability to function have become available in the past 20 years or so. These newer antipsychotic drugs are known as atypical antipsychotics, novel antipsychotics or second generation antipsychotics. They include drugs such as aripiprazole, asenapine, clozapine, lurasidone, olanzapine, paliperidone, quetiapine, risperidone or ziprasidone.19 These drugs appear to have effects on a broader range of the symptoms of schizophrenia.20They are effective in the treatment of positive symptoms, including hallucinations and delusions, and may also help in treating the negative symptoms of the illness, such as reduced motivation or flattened emotions.1 The newer medications are also available as tablets, liquids and short- and long-acting injections (depending on the individual medicine).1