'Time to rename medicines for mental health'

In order to remove confusion for patients who could be prescribed drugs that appear to be unrelated to their condition, the world's major psychiatry organisations are proposing to completely change the terminology of the drugs used in mental disorders.

London: In order to remove confusion for patients who could be prescribed drugs that appear to be unrelated to their condition, the world's major psychiatry organisations are proposing to completely change the terminology of the drugs used in mental disorders.

In psychiatry, a patient may be being treated for anxiety, and yet may be prescribed an 'antidepressant' or an 'antipsychotic', and the stigma of being prescribed an antipsychotic can make the patient even more anxious.

The new method proposes to shift the drug naming system from symptom-based (antidepressants and antipsychotics) to pharmacologically-based (focusing on pharmacological target such as serotonin or dopamine) and the relevant mode of action.

"This is more than just a name change. This will change the way we talk about medications, the way we use medications and the way we explain to our patients why we are selecting the specific medications for them," said professor Joseph Zohar from Tel Aviv, Israel, who leads the international nomenclature project.

The current terminology of the drugs used by Neuropsychopharmacologists is based on a classification developed in the 1960's.

"As in many fields, what we know about drugs has evolved enormously since the 1960s, but the names we use to describe these drugs have not evolved in 50 years," Zohar concluded.

The new terminology is being presented to international clinicians at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) conference in Berlin.

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