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What Is Flupenthixol?

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  • Written By: Andy Josiah
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2016
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Flupenthixol is the generic name given to a prescription medication used to treat schizophrenia. It is now known as flupentixol, without the “h." The drug is also marketed as the brand names depixol or fluanxol.

Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder characterized by a decline in thought processes. Signs of the condition include paranoid delusions, auditory hallucinations, emotional disturbance and incoherent speech. Several causes are linked to schizophrenia, from genetics via family history of the diseases to quality of upbringing or living environment.

The flupenthixol medication is referred to as a typical antipsychotic drug. It is also known as a first-generation antipsychotic, since it was among the first of its kind, synthesized in the 1950s. Flupenthixol is a derivative of thioxanthene, a three-ringed chemical compound.

Flupenthixol’s classifications denote the way it works to combat schizophrenia. Currently, the true mechanism of action from flupenthixol is not fully understood. It is theorized, however, that the drug reacts with dopamine. This is a naturally occurring chemical compound that acts as a neurotransmitter, an agent that conducts messages between brain cells. Produced in the substantia nigra and the ventral tegmental among other areas of the brain, dopamine contributes to normal moods and behavior.

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A huge advantage of dopamine is that it does not cross the blood-brain barrier. This is a network of blood vessels and cells that filters the blood that enters the brain. Thus dopamine does not directly affect the central nervous system (CNS), of which the brain is a major component. Due to dopamine's role in promoting one's sense of well-being, flupenthixol is also used to treat major depression. This is a medical condition characterized by generally low moods and a loss of interest in everyday activities.

Also, flupenthixol is a faster worker than most antidepressants. People who take the drug begin to feel the effect within a two- to three-day period. It takes a few number of weeks, however, to realize the full effect of flupenthixol.

Flupenthixol does have side effects, which include constipation, dry mouth, drowsiness or visual impairment. Less common side effects include muscle stiffness, restlessness, vomiting, fever, speech difficulty, loss of balance, mask-like facial expression, trembling or shaking, irregular urination and heartbeat, and prolonged or painful erection. Skin rashes and itching, dizziness and breathing trouble might indicate allergic reaction to flupenthixol. In all cases, patients are advised to see their doctors.

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