What is sertindole?

Second generation antipsychotics (sometimes referred to as ‘atypical’ antipsychotics) such as sertindole are a newer class of antipsychotic medication than first generation ‘typical’ antipsychotics. Second generation antipsychotics are effective for the positive symptoms of schizophrenia. It is sometimes claimed that they are more effective than first generation antipsychotics in treating the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, although the evidence for this is weak. Negative symptoms include a lack of ordinary mental activities such as emotional expression, social engagement, thinking and motivation, whereas positive symptoms include the experiences of perceptual abnormalities (hallucinations) and fixed, false, irrational beliefs (delusions).

Second generation antipsychotics may also cause less extra-pyramidal side effects. These include dyskinesias such as repetitive, involuntary, and purposeless body or facial movements, Parkinsonism (cogwheel muscle rigidity, pill-rolling tremor and reduced or slowed movements), akathisia (motor restlessness, especially in the legs, and resembling agitation) and dystonias such as muscle contractions causing unusual twisting of parts of the body, most often in the neck. These effects are caused by the dopamine receptor antagonist action of these drugs.

What is the evidence for sertindole?

Moderate quality evidence suggests sertindole may improve mental state and global state more than placebo, but sertindole may result in more weight gain. Sertindole may result in more study retention and medication compliance than haloperidol, and may result in fewer movement disorders and less sleepiness, but greater weight gain, rhinitis and cardiovascular effects. Moderate quality evidence suggests no differences between sertindole and risperidone for mental state or for leaving the study early. Sertindole may result in fewer movement disorders, but greater weight gain, male sexual dysfunction and cardiovascular effects than risperidone.

October 2020

Last updated at: 4:57 am, 14th October 2020
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