Antipsychotics

medication

Antipsychotics are a range of medications that are used mainly for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder but are occasionally used for severe anxiety or depression[1].

Antipsychotics work by impacting chemical messengers -neurotransmitters - used to communicate between brain cells. Dopamine is the main neurotransmitter affected by these medications. If parts of the dopamine system become overactive, they seem to play a part in producing hallucinations, delusions and thought disorder. Antipsychotics block the receptors that react to dopamine.

Examples include (brand name italicized):

  • Compazine (Prochlorperazine)
  • Haldol (Haloperidol)
  • Loxitane (Loxapine)
  • Mellaril (Thioridazine)
  • Moban (Molindone)
  • Navane (Thithixene)
  • Orap (Pimozide)
  • Prolixin (Fluphenazine)
  • Stelazine (Trifluoperazine)
  • Thorazine (Chlorpromazine)
  • Trilafon (Perphenazine)

Side Effects[1]:
Common:

  • Stiffness and shakiness
  • Feeling sluggish and slow in your thinking
  • Uncomfortable restlessness
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Breast swelling or tenderness
  • Weight gain
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety

Less Common:

  • Tardive dyskinesia – involuntary body movements or facial tics
  • Decreased white blood cell production/reduce immune function
  • Pancreatitis
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Diabetes

[1]Lacey, Michael. “Antipsychotics.” Antipsychotic Medication, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Jan. 2014, www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/treatmentswellbeing/antipsychoticmedication.aspx.

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