Antipsychotic Medications


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Antipsychotic medications can play a role in treating psychiatric disorders.

Antipsychotic medications are used to ease symptoms of psychosis such as delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, or confused thoughts. They are used in the treatment of schizophrenia, severe depression and severe anxiety, and useful at stabilizing episodes of mania in people with bipolar disorder.

Antipsychotics can also have many side effects and raise the chance of developing the “bad” type of cholesterol and diabetes.

Other side effects of antipsychotics may include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Weight gain
  • Seizures (rarely)
  • Diabetes
  • Agitation
  • Constipation
  • Sleepiness, low energy
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Movement effects (tremors, muscle stiffness and tics)
  • Tardive dyskinesia (TD), a condition that may cause repetitive involuntary movements
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a rare but serious complication (fever, muscle stiffness and delirium)

Ways to reduce possible side effects:

  • Getting regular exercise
  • Eating a low-fat, low-sugar, high-fiber diet
  • Staying hydrated
  • Brushing teeth regularly
  • Getting up slowly from a sitting or lying position

Regular lab testing is important for staying healthy.

Provider(s) will monitor the person’s weight, sugar levels and cholesterol levels regularly. If needed, the provider may adjust the dose, prescribe other medications to help control side effects or change medication.