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Antipsychotic Induced Dopamine Supersensitivity Psychosis: A Comprehensive Review

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Chronic prescription of antipsychotics seems to lose its therapeutic benefits in the prevention of recurring psychotic symptoms. In many instances, the occurrence of relapse from initial remission is followed by an increase in dose of the prescribed antipsychotic. The current understanding of why this occurs is still in its infancy, but a controversial idea that has regained attention recently is the notion of iatrogenic dopamine supersensitivity. Studies on cell cultures and animal models have shown that long-term antipsychotic use is linked to both an upregulation of dopamine D2-receptors in the striatum and the emergence of enhanced receptor affinity to endogenous dopamine. These findings have been hypothesized to contribute to the phenomenon known as dopamine supersensitivity psychosis (DSP), which has been clinically typified as the foundation of rebound psychosis, drug tolerance, and tardive dyskinesia. The focus of this review is the update of evidence behind the classification of antipsychotic induced DSP and an investigation of its relationship to treatment resistance. Since antipsychotics are the foundation of illness management, a greater understanding of DSP and its prevention may greatly affect patient outcomes.
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Keywords: Antipsychotics; D2-receptors; dopamine supersensitivity psychosis; rebound psychosis; relapse; schizophrenia; tolerance; treatment-resistance

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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  • Current Neuropharmacology aims to provide current, timely and comprehensive reviews of all areas of neuropharmacology and related matters of neuroscience. The journal publishes reviews written by experts and leaders in the fields of molecular, cellular, and systems/behavioural aspects of neuropharmacology and neuroscience. The journal serves as a comprehensive, multidisciplinary expert forum for neuropharmacologists and neuroscientists.
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