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A systematic review of the effects of psychiatric medications on social cognition

Haime, Z; Watson, AJ; Crellin, N; Marston, L; Joyce, E; Moncrieff, J; (2021) A systematic review of the effects of psychiatric medications on social cognition. BMC Psychiatry , 21 (1) , Article 597. 10.1186/s12888-021-03545-z. Green open access

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Social cognition is an important area of mental functioning relevant to psychiatric disorders and social functioning, that may be affected by psychiatric drug treatments. The aim of this review was to investigate the effects of medications with sedative properties, on social cognition. METHOD: This systematic review included experimental and neuroimaging studies investigating drug effects on social cognition. Data quality was assessed using a modified Downs and Black checklist (Trac et al. CMAJ 188: E120-E129, 2016). The review used narrative synthesis to analyse the data. RESULTS: 40 papers were identified for inclusion, 11 papers investigating benzodiazepine effects, and 29 investigating antipsychotic effects, on social cognition. Narrative synthesis showed that diazepam impairs healthy volunteer's emotion recognition, with supporting neuroimaging studies showing benzodiazepines attenuate amygdala activity. Studies of antipsychotic effects on social cognition gave variable results. However, many of these studies were in patients already taking medication, and potential practice effects were identified due to short-term follow-ups. CONCLUSION: Healthy volunteer studies suggest that diazepam reduces emotional processing ability. The effects of benzodiazepines on other aspects of social cognition, as well as the effects of antipsychotics, remain unclear. Interpretations of the papers in this review were limited by variability in measures, small sample sizes, and lack of randomisation. More robust studies are necessary to evaluate the impact of these medications on social cognition.

Type: Article
Title: A systematic review of the effects of psychiatric medications on social cognition
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12888-021-03545-z
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-021-03545-z
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Antipsychotic, Benzodiazepine, Psychopharmacology, Schizophrenia, Social cognition
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Movement Neurosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Primary Care and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10139486
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