Monday, September 22, 2008

A natural antipsychotic?

l-Stepholidine is a chemical derived from the Chinese herb Stephania. Since it had been found to have dopamine activity similar to that seen in atypical antipsychotics, it was tested and compared to the activity of haloperidol (Haldol) and clozapine (Clozaril). Scientists predicted its activity would more closely resemble clozapine. Indeed, when tested, it did mimic clozapine. The one downside researchers did report was that it was eliminated fairly rapidly from the body, which would make it challenging to use as a long-term therapeutic agent for treating schizophrenia.

What is stepholidine? It is a naturally occurring chemical, extracted from Stephania intermedia, a Chinese herb. I like to find pictures of herbs to share in this blog, but unfortunately, even Google can't pull anything up on this one.

I think this is exciting news, but being that this is very new information, I certainly am not recommending that anyone stop using a prescribed antipsychotic and head for Chinatown! I do promise, if anything new comes up, I'll be sure to share it in this blog along with references.

Natesan S, Reckless GE, Barlow KB, Odontiadis J, Nobrega JN, Baker GB, George SR, Mamo D, Kapur S. The antipsychotic potential of l-stepholidine--a naturally occurring dopamine receptor D1 agonist and D2 antagonist. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2008 Aug;199(2):275-89.

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