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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2008 Jan;34(1):61-71. Epub 2007 Jun 15.

Substance abuse and schizophrenia: pharmacotherapeutic intervention.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, NH 03756, USA. alan.i.green@dartmouth.edu

Abstract

Substance use disorder is common in patients with schizophrenia and dramatically worsens their outcome. The typical antipsychotic medications, introduced more than 50 years ago, are effective for the treatment of psychosis but may have only limited efficacy in patients with these co-occurring disorders because patients continue to use substances while taking them. In preliminary studies, however, several of the atypical antipsychotic medications have shown promise for reducing alcohol and drug use in patients with schizophrenia. A neurobiological formulation is discussed, suggesting that the use of substances in patients with schizophrenia may be based on a dysfunction within the dopamine-mediated brain reward circuitry and that clozapine, in particular, may potentially ameliorate this dysfunction and lessen the desire for substance use. Medications for the treatment of alcohol use disorders, such as disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate, as well as other adjunctive medications, may also be useful. Further studies are required to establish a solid evidence base of best practices for the use of medications in these patients.

PMID:
17574793
PMCID:
PMC2930488
DOI:
10.1016/j.jsat.2007.01.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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