Schizophrenia is among the top 10 debilitating conditions for young adults worldwide that often interferes with an individual’s ability to think clearly, distinguish reality from fantasy, manage emotions, make decisions and connect with others.
Although schizophrenia can occur at any age, it typically emerges during adolescence or early adulthood. When the psychotic process sets in, a person suffering from schizophrenia begins to act in an odd manner that reflect his or her inner perceptual distortions.
The symptoms of schizophrenia are divided into positive and negative symptoms because they uniquely affect the diagnosis and treatment outcomes. On the one hand, positive symptoms are those that indicate a distortion of perception, such as hallucinations, delusions, racing thoughts, etc. On the other hand, negative symptoms are those that suggest a loss of normal functions, such as lack of emotion, poor or nonexistent social skills, anhedonia, etc. In the treatment of schizophrenia, positive symptoms are considerably easier to address compared to the negative symptoms, which persists longer and are associated with the higher levels of disease burden.
Negative symptoms are harder to treat and persist longer
Antipsychotics are particularly recommended for treating the positive symptoms of schizophrenia as negative symptoms have proven to be far more complicated to be addressed. However, with the creation of the novel compound MIN-101 by Minerva Neurosciences, individuals with the negative symptoms of schizophrenia may be able to derive the benefits of this medication.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP), MIN-101 has been clinically successful in reducing the negative symptoms of schizophrenia without major side effects. The compound has no direct activity on dopamine receptors.
To ascertain the efficacy and safety of MIN-101 against a placebo, the study recruited 244 patients with schizophrenia who have been symptomatically stable for at least three months and scored at least 20 on the negative subscale of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). After the participants abstained from their antipsychotic medications for at least five days, the patients were randomly administered 32 g/day or 64 mg/day of MIN-101 or a placebo for 12 weeks.
A few key findings of this study are as follows:
- Compared to those on placebo, the patients on MIN-101 displayed improvements in their PANSS negative symptom scores that suggested a moderate effect. However, no changes in their positive symptom scores or Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS) scores were observed.
- No clinically significant changes were observed in vital signs, weight and metabolic indices.
Prior research suggests that the negative symptoms of schizophrenia contribute more to poor functional outcomes and quality of life than positive symptoms do. When there is an improvement in negative symptoms, it is associated with the improvement in independent living skills, social functioning and role functioning. Due to the increased concentration on the positive symptoms, the negative symptoms of schizophrenia remain unaddressed in the current treatment for schizophrenia.
Unlike other treatment measures, the compound MIN-101 has proven beneficial in improving functional outcomes and quality of life by treating the negative symptoms of schizophrenia that tend to persist for lifetime. By blocking a specific subtype of serotonin receptor called 5-HT2A, certain symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations, delusions, agitation and other side effects can be reduced. It also causes slow wave sleep, which is often disrupted in patients suffering from schizophrenia.
Road to recovery
It is essential to treat both positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia to ensure significant improvement in cognitive and social functioning. When a person develops a debilitating condition like schizophrenia, he or she runs the risk of suffering from this disease entire life with varying degrees of intensity. Fortunately, schizophrenia or some of its symptoms can be managed with medications and other psychological interventions.
If you or your loved one is experiencing or suspecting any symptoms of mental disorders at play, it is advisable to seek medical attention. The Texas Mental Health Recovery Helpline assists in accessing the finest mental health disorders treatment in Texas that specializes in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-596-4708 or chat online to know more about the mental health treatment program in Texas.