So, how do medications for schizophrenia work? Well, there are a couple of main mechanisms that we are aware of. One is dopamine blockade, and so we know that many of the medications, especially the older ones, are good at blocking the dopamine in parts of the brain, the part we call the mesolimbic area, which is primarily in the temporal lobe. And that reduces some of the positive symptoms of schizophrenia in particular.
There's also an implication of serotonin receptors. Serotonin actually may be involved in reducing some of the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, so the lack of motivation, the lack of affect and depressive symptoms that often go along with schizophrenia as well. Many of our medications have effects on a lot of different receptors, and so each of them has a slightly different profile depending on which receptors they affect. We still have a lot to learn, though, about how these medication work and how best to use them to help people with schizophrenia recover fully.