Explain the agonist-to-antagonist spectrum of action of psychopharmacologic agents
Psychopharmacologic agents fall on a spectrum of agonist (stimulatory) to antagonist (inhibitory) activity. Agonists bind to receptors within the body, triggering a cascade of physiological events that produce an effect. Antagonists work by blocking or counteracting the effects of an agonist. Partial agonists have both stimulatory and inhibitory properties, meaning they can activate and dampen receptor signaling depending on the amount present in the system. Inverse agonism is when a substance reduces the basal activity of a receptor; this means it can decrease baseline stimulation from endogenous substances that are already naturally occurring in the body.
G-coupled proteins and ion-gated channels play essential roles in neurotransmission throughout the body. G-coupled proteins act as transducers, converting extracellular stimuli into intracellular signals by activating a series of secondary messenger molecules. Ion-gated channels regulate the flow of ions across cell membranes and can be opened or closed in response to different stimuli.
In addition to the direct role neurotransmitters play in pharmacologic action; epigenetic factors may also contribute to how a medication is metabolized and utilized within the body. Epigenetics combines chemical modifications to DNA strands that affect gene expression without altering the underlying genetic code. These modifications include post-translational histone modification, DNA methylation, histone acetylation, and non-coding
Post a response to each of the following:
- Explain the agonist-to-antagonist spectrum of action of psychopharmacologic agents, including how partial and inverse agonist functionality may impact the efficacy of psychopharmacologic treatments.
- Compare and contrast the actions of g couple proteins and ion gated channels.
- Explain how the role of epigenetics may contribute to pharmacologic action.
- Explain how this information may impact the way you prescribe medications to patients. Include a specific example of a situation or case with a patient in which the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner must be aware of the medication’s action.