Central nervous system disorders are the third greatest health problem in developed countries, and schizophrenia represents some of the most disabling ailments in young individuals. There is an abuse and/or misuse of antipsychotics, and recent advances in pharmacogenomics pose new challenges for the clinical management of this complex disorder. Schizophrenia is a multi-factorial/polygenic complex disorder in which hundreds of different genes are potentially involved, leading to the phenotypic expression of the disease in conjunction with epigenetic and environmental phenomena. Consequently, structural and functional genomic changes induce proteomic and metabolomic defects associated with the disease phenotype.
Disease-related genomic profiles and genetic variants in genes involved in drug metabolism are responsible for drug efficacy and safety. About 20% of Caucasians are defective in CYP2D6 enzymes, which participate in the metabolism of 25–30% of central nervous system drugs. Approximately 40% of antipsychotics are substrates of CYP2D6 enzymes, 23% are substrates of CYP3A4, and 18% are substrates of CYP1A2. In order to achieve a mature discipline of pharmacogenomics of schizophrenia it would be effective to accelerate: (i) the education of physicians and the public in the use of genomic screening in daily clinical practice; (ii) the standardization of genetic testing for major categories of drugs; (iii) the validation of pharmacogenomic procedures according to drug category and pathology; (iv) the regulation of ethical, social, and economic issues; and (v) the incorporation of pharmacogenomic procedures of drugs in development and drugs on the market in order to optimize therapeutics.