What are neurotoxic effects of antipsychotic therapy in patients with schizophrenia?

Updated: Mar 16, 2018
  • Author: Frances R Frankenburg, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Some studies have explored the potential neurotoxic effects of antipsychotic medications; however, no clear conclusions have been reached. For example, Ho et al performed structural brain imaging in more than 200 patients with schizophrenia over 7 years and found that whereas patients treated with higher doses of antipsychotic medications seemed to lose gray matter throughout their brain (except the cerebellum), those treated with lower doses seemed to have a small increase in white matter. [112]

The clinical significance of these findings is unclear. It is not known whether these changes are directly associated with any clinical symptoms and whether they are reversible. It also is not known whether the higher medication doses were in response to the gray-matter loss or whether it was the other way around.

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