An intercalation mechanism as a mode of action exerted by psychotropic drugs: results of altered phospholipid substrate availabilities in membranes?
Patients respond differently to psychotropic drugs, and this is currently a controversial theme among psychiatrists. The effects of 16 psychotropics on cell membrane parameters have been reported. These drugs belong to three major groups used in therapeutic psychiatry: antipsychotics, antidepressants, and anxiolytic/hypnotics. Human platelets, lacking dopamine (D(2)) receptors (proposed targets of most psychotropics), have been used as a cell model. Here we discuss the effects of these drugs on three metabolic phenomena and also results from Langmuir experiments. Diazepam, in contrast to the remaining drugs, had negligible effects on metabolic phenomena and had no effects in Langmuir experiments. Psychotropic drugs may work through intercalation in membrane phospholipids. It is possible that the fluidity of membranes, rich in essential fatty acids, the content being influenced by diet, could be a contributing factor to the action of psychotropics. This might in turn explain the observed major differences in therapeutic response among patients.