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Saphris- A Novel Drug to Treat Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder: Part 1

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Just a few weeks ago, the FDA approved a new drug called Saphris to treat schizophrenia and bipolar I disorder in adults. Saphris belongs to a class of drugs called atypical antipsychotics. The FDA accepted Saphris based on recent clinical trials in which the medication was much better than a placebo at reducing symptoms in patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects about 1% of North Americans and is one of the most common causes of suicide in these individuals. Schizophrenia can present with a range of symptoms that include hearing voices other people do not hear or having false beliefs that others are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts or scheming to harm them. Many schizophrenics are inappropriately suspicious or paranoid.

Bipolar disorder, also acknowledged as manic-depressive illness, is believed to affect about 1% to 3% of individuals in North America. Bipolar I disorder is a chronic, severe, and recurrent mental disorder that induces sporadic periods of depression and increased levels of hyperactivity, restlessness, competing thoughts, rapid speech, impulsive actions, and a diminished need for sleep.

Both Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder not only affect the individual but also devastate relationships between families and friends. Despite years of research, the cause of both these disorders remains a puzzle. Even though there are drugs to treat these disorders, many individuals rapidly develop tolerance, experience numerous side effects and treatment is life long. The use of drugs to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder is essential because they can help these individuals live more independently and even hold jobs.

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