Explain the site of action, uses and adverse effects of antipsychotic drugs.



Learning Objectives

At the end this section the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the major adverse effects of sedative hypnotic drugs.
  2. Describe the drugs used in epilepsy.
  3. Illustrate the approaches in the management of parkinsonism.
  4. Explain the site of action, uses and adverse effects of antipsychotic drugs.
  5. Describe the major adverse effects opioid analgesics.


To facilitate the understanding of the pharmacological and unwanted effects of CNS drugs, the physiological functions of the main CNS neurotransmitters are discussed briefly.

Noradrenaline. Noradrenergic transmission is important in control of mood (functional deficiency resulting depression) controlling wakefulness, and alertness.

Dopamine. Dopamine is important in motor control (Parkinsonism is due to dopamine deficiency), has behavioural effects (excessive dopamine activity is implicated in schizophrenia), important in hormone release (prolactin, GH) and dopamine in chemoreceptor trigor zone causes nausea and vomiting.

5-HT. Physiological functions associated with 5-HT pathways include; feeding behaviour, behavioural response (hallucinatory behaviour), control of mood and emotion, control of body temperature and vomiting.

Acetylcholine(Ach). Ach has effects on arousal, on learning, and on short-term memory. Dementia and parkinsonism are associated with abnormalities in cholinergic pathways.

GABA. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in CNS.

Glycine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, acts on GABA like receptor in the spinal cord.


  1. What are intravenous anesthetics? Write about their clinical uses.
  2. Write about benzodiazepines and their therapeutic uses.
  3. Write about mechanism of action and adverse effects of Phenytoin and carbamazepine
  4. Why levodopa is combined with carbidopa in the treatment of Parkinsonism?
  5. Write about tricyclic antidepressants and their clinical indications.
  6. List commonly abused drugs

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