Psychotropic Drugs : Classification, Definitions, Synonyms and Examples

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Psychotropic Drugs

Psychotropic Drugs

What are Psychotropic drugs?

Psychotropic drugs are those drugs which affect the mood and behaviour.

Classification of Psychotropic drugs:

Classification is done in many ways as there is no proper indices of brain function to define and measure it.

1. Psychotropic drugs can be classified on the basis of the:

  • Chemical Structure: Benzodiazepines, butyrophenones etc,
  • Biochemical target: Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, opiates,etc.,
  • Behavioural effect: Hallucinogens, psychomotor stimulants etc,
  • Clinical use: Anti-depressants, antipsychotic agents, antiepileptic drugs,
  • Miscellaneous: Atypical antipsychotic drugs, nootropic drugs

According to the suggestion of World Health Organisation in 1967, psychotropic drugs are classified as follows:

1. Anaesthetic agents
Definition: Anaesthetic agents are the drugs used to produce surgical anaestheia
Examples: Propofol, halothane
2. Anxiolytics and sedatives
Synonyms: Hypnotics, sedatives, minor tranquillisers
Definition: Anxiolytics are the drugs which reduce the anxiety and sedatives are the drugs that cause sleep by reducing the anxiety
Examples: Barbiturates, benzodiazepines
3. Antipsychotic drugs
Synonyms: Neuroleptic drugs, antischizophrenic drugs, major tranquillisers
Definition: Antipsychotic drugs are those drugs that are effective in relieving the symptoms of schizophrenic illness
Examples: Chlorpromazine, haloperidol, clozapine
4. Antidepressant drugs
Definition: Antidepressant drugs are those drugs which reduce the depression by alleviating the symptoms of depressive illness
Examples: Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
5. Analgesic drugs
Definition: Analgesic drugs are used clinically for controlling the pain
Examples: Opiates, carbamazepine
6. Psychomotor stimulants
Synonyms: Psychostimulants
Definition: Psychomotor stimulants act by causing wakefulness and euphoria
Examples: Cocaine, amphetamine, caffeine
7. Psychotomimetic drugs
Synonyms: Hallucinogens, psychodysleptics
Definition: Psychotomimetic drugs are the drugs that cause disturbance of perception, particularly visual hallucinations and of behaviour in ways that cannot be simply characterised as sedative or stimulant effects
Examples: Lysergic acid diethylamide, mescaline, phencyclidine
8. Cognition enhancers
Synonyms: Nootropic drugs
Definition: Cognition enhancers improves the memory and cognitive performance
Examples: Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors – donezepil, galantamine, rivastigmine
NMDA receptor antagonists – memantine, piracetam (it has improved cognition function in animal tests, yet to be proved in humans)

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