5-HT2A Agonists: A Novel Therapy for Functional Neurological Disorders?

Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2017 May 1;20(5):422-427. doi: 10.1093/ijnp/pyx011.


Functional neurological disorders are frequently encountered in clinical practice. They have a poor prognosis and treatment options are limited. Their etiology is unknown, but leading theories propose a disturbance of somatic self-representation: the mind perceives dysfunction of a body region despite intact motor and sensory pathways. Central to this model is the concept of an abnormal top-down cognitive influence upon sensorimotor function. There is growing interest in the use of 5-HT2A agonists in the management of neuropsychiatric conditions. Recent studies have shown that these agents induce changes in neural activity that disrupt hierarchical brain dynamics and modulate networks subserving self-related processing. Converging evidence suggests they may hold unique therapeutic potential in functional neurological disorders. This is of importance given the considerable personal and societal burden of this condition and we argue a clinical trial to test this hypothesis is warranted.

Keywords: 5HT2a agonists; fMRI; functional neurological disorders; neural dynamics..

MeSH terms

  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Models, Biological
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Serotonin 5-HT2 Receptor Agonists / therapeutic use*


  • Serotonin 5-HT2 Receptor Agonists