Advances in medications for schizophrenia and other psychotic conditions that affect one percent of the population, are particularly favoring Hispanics and Afro-Americans in the United States.
“We are using third generation medications that are not only capable of combating the symptoms and effects of the disease, but also to prevent any type of side effect, preventing cardiac or diabetic complications, which are so predominant among the minorities in this country. This is the most significant advance we have had in this field in the last few years,” assures Psychiatrist Dr. Emilio Mantero-Atienza, medical director of the Behavioral Health Unit of the Kendall Regional Medical Center and affiliated with Mercy Hospital, both located in Miami. Dr. Mantero, born in Seville, Spain, studied medicine in his country and was specialized in the University of Miami in public health and pharmacology with applied biochemistry, as well as psychiatry.
Psychiatrist Mantero explains that schizophrenia generally has two types of symptoms: positive signs, such as hallucinations or paranoia, restlessness or cinations or paranoia, restlessness or stimulation of the patient; and the so-called negative symptoms, such as apathy, anhedonia (the inability to experiment pleasure), depression, sadness, or inactivity. Positive signs were already well treated with previous medicines. The problem had always been with the side effects of these medications and the lack of improvement of the negative signs.
“These new medicines act against the positive as well as the negative symptoms, without having to pay the price of some side effects as serious as Parkinson’s, dystonia (involuntary movements), and dyskinesia (abnormal movements), among others,” affirms Dr. Mantero.
A very important matter is that these new medications also have fewer side effects that trigger or worsen other problems that are very prevalent conditions among minorities in the United States. For example, Hispanic psychiatric patients have a higher rate of cardiovascular disease or endocrine disease, such as diabetes, than Anglo-Saxon psychiatric patients. There may be many causes, including genetic factors, diet, and access to health and well-being, among many others.
Former antipsychotic medications had a very prevalent side effect which is known as negative metabolic syndrome, in which the bad cholesterol and the triglycerides increased and processes such as diabetes worsened. The new medications do not have this type of effects.