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(also called neuroplegics, antipsychotics, major tranquilizers), a group of pharmacologically active substances that exert a unique depressive influence on many functions of the nervous system.

Neuroleptics are sedatives that effect an indifferent attitude in the patient toward the surroundings, a decrease in motor activity and in skeletal muscle tonus, a weakening of autonomic reactivity (which tends to be accompanied by a decrease in body temperature), a lowering of arterial blood pressure, and a weakening of reflexes from the internal organs. Neuroleptics intensify the action of narcotics, somnifacients, analgesics, and anesthetics, and they weaken the action of stimulators of nervous activity, such as caffeine and phenamine. Neuroleptic substances also have antiemetic properties.

As a result of the influence of neuroleptics on the central nervous system, changes in mental activity and emotional state arise without disturbances of consciousness. These changes are accompanied by fluctuations in the electrical biopotentials of the brain. The antipsychotic action, which is especially characteristic of neuroleptics, accounts for the successful treatment of psychomotor excitement and mental disorders, such as delirium, hallucination, or anxiety. The first neuroleptic, chlorpromazine, was studied by the French pharmacologist F. Courvoisier in the early 1950’s; somewhat later, reserpine was introduced into therapy as a neuroleptic.

Structurally, neuroleptics belong to various classes of chemical compounds; of the greatest practical importance are the derivatives of phenothiazine, thioxanthene, butyrophenone, and indole. Although the mechanism of action has not been sufficiently studied, it is known that neuroleptics influence the transmission of nerve impulses within the synapses of various brain structures. It is also known that neuroleptics suppress the activating influence of the reticular formation of the brain on the cerebral cortex and lower the activity of mediator substances (chemical transmitters), which brings about a change in the functional activity of the brain.

Neuroleptics opened up a new era in the treatment of various mental diseases, for example, schizophrenia and manic-depressive psychosis; they have also been widely used in combination with narcotics and analgesics to eliminate pain during surgery. Neuroleptics have broad application to the clinical practice of internal medicine, especially in the treatment of hypertension, ulcers, and ischemic diseases of the heart; they are also used against itching in skin diseases and as antiemetics in pernicious vomiting of pregnancy.


Avrutskii, G. Ia. Sovremennye psikhotropnye sredstva i ikh primenenie ν lechenii shizofrenii. Moscow, 1964.
Zakusov, V. V. “Novye psikhofarmakologicheskie sredstva.” Farmakologiia i toksikologiia, 1964, vol. 27, no. 1.
Mashkovskii, M. D. Lekarstvennye sredstva, 7th ed., part 1. Moscow, 1972.
Raiskii, V. A. Psikhofarmakologicheskie sredstva ν meditsinskoi praktike. Moscow, 1972.


References in periodicals archive ?
The first choice is usually an antidepressant or a neuroleptic, Dr.
Although akathisia is mostly described as a side effect of neuroleptics (such as haloperidol), it may be related to the location of the brain injury.
Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) represents a cluster of adverse effects of antipsychotic medications including: hypertonicity, autonomic instability, fever, and cognitive disturbance.
Clozapine was the first atypical neuroleptic to be developed, and has been used since the 1960s.
They then gave the rats one of two atypical neuroleptics and found that in both cases the drug severely depressed the response from the CNiFERs.
There is consequently no discussion of the different aspects of sedation, which may be differentially provided by analgesics, anxiolytics, neuroleptics and amnesics.
self-injury, aggression, destruction), pharmacological treatment with a range of psychotropic medications, including atypical neuroleptics (e.
People "with widely disparate emotional and behavior problems [are] regularly funneled into a single diagnostic category, schizophrenia, and then treated with neuroleptics.
Depression in patients with schizophrenia has been shown to be associated with a family history of depression, early parenteral loss, higher doses of depot neuroleptics, even though no significant gender difference has been shown (8-10).
A study found that the drugs - called neuroleptics - could impact on verbal and thinking skills.
Lower-dose therapy with traditional neuroleptics in chronically hospitalized schizophrenic patients.
The guest commentary by courageous mental health worker Chuck Areford on March 16, "Antipsychotic drugs are doing harm," sounded an alarm bell that long-term neuroleptics actuallycan shrink frontal lobes and shorten lives.