Benperidol is a drug from the group of butyrophenones. These belong to the neuroleptics. The drug is used to treat schizophrenia.

What is Benperidol?

Benperidol is a drug from the group of butyrophenones. These belong to the neuroleptics. The drug is used to treat schizophrenia.

Benperidol is a drug primarily used in psychiatry. He belongs to the butyrophenones. This group of drugs is used therapeutically as an antipsychotic. Other known butyrophenones are haloperidol or pipamperone.

Benperidol, together with haloperidol and trifluperidol, is one of the most potent neuroleptics. While low potent butyrophenones have rather slight side effects, the high potency butyrophenones like benperidol have a high side effect rate.

The first butyrophenones were already produced in the late 1950s. Since the mid-1960s, benperidol and other butyrophenones have been used in psychiatric clinics.

Pharmacological action

Psychoses such as schizophrenia, depression or mania are mainly influenced by disorders of the neurotransmitters and in the hormone balance. Especially dopamine and serotonin play an important role.

The aim of the drug treatment of a psychosis is the inhibition of dopamine and / or serotonin receptors in the central nervous system (CNS). To inhibit the receptors so-called dopamine and serotonin antagonists are used. These compete with serotonin and dopamine for the receptor sites. One such dopamine antagonist is benperidol. It blocks the D2 dopamine receptors and thus has a drive-reducing effect. The drug also has a sedative and antipsychotic effect.

At a higher dosage of benperidol also the messengers histamine and adrenaline are inhibited. These have an influence on the autonomic nervous system. Therefore, the use of benperidol can reduce movement disorders. To a lesser extent benperidol also affects the messenger acetylcholine. This messenger substance plays a role in the transmission of nerve stimuli to muscle fibers. Benperidol may reduce muscle twitching that can occur as part of a psychotic episode due to this effect.

Medical application & use

Benperidol is used in the form of drops, ampoules or tablets for the treatment of psychosis. It can be administered orally or intravenously. Indications for the administration of Benperidol are:

  • schizophrenia
  • Delusions or obsessions in a psychotic thrust
  • Mood swings in mania
  • Muscle twitching in the catatonic syndrome

Risks & Side Effects

Due to its strong unwanted side effects benperidol is usually used only as a reserve in the treatment of schizophrenia. However, the use is steadily decreasing due to the further development of neuroleptics.

The effect of Benperidol is very strong, so that adverse effects occur almost with every treatment. A common undesirable effect is the extrapyramidal syndrome (EPS). With the EPS it comes to disturbances in the movement sequence. The movements increase or are diminished. They are associated with a decreased or increased tension of the muscles. The affected patients suffer from restlessness, tongue spasms, gaze cramps, tremors, and a lack of exercise. For the prevention of EPS, benperidol is usually given together with anticholinergics such as biperiden. Anticholinergics suppress the action of acetylcholine and thus prevent the transmission of nerve stimuli.

Other common side effects of benperidol include hypotension, cardiac arrhythmia, milk flow, menstrual disorders or sexual aversion. Occasionally dizziness, depression, seizures, speech disorders, weight gain, high blood sugar levels or skin allergies. Very rare side effects include dry mouth, increased intraocular pressure, hair loss and hematopoietic disorders.

A dangerous complication that can develop when taking benperidol is malignant neuroleptic syndrome (MNS). This is much more common with benperidol than with the use of other neuroleptics. The MNS is probably caused by a lack of dopamine by a blockade of the D2 receptor. Typical symptoms of MNS include extreme muscle stiffness, tremor, increased reflexes, eye cramps, jaw clamp, heavy sweating, palpitations, rapid breathing, faecal incontinence or urinary retention, confusion, mutism, impaired consciousness, and catatonia. The laboratory shows an extreme increase in creatine kinase and transaminases. The leukocyte count is increased. There is an excretion of myoglobin via the urine. Malignant neuroleptic syndrome is a dreaded complication, as it can develop rapidly and unexpectedly and can be fatal. If MNS is suspected, benperidol must be discontinued immediately. Tags: 

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