Side Effects Of Schizophrenia Drugs

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Any medication can cause unwanted side effects in some people, even over the counter remedies and herbal preparations and the antipsychotic medicine prescribed for patients with Schizophrenia is no different.

Sometimes it is worth putting up with some mild side effects in order to get the benefits provided by the medication but one of the drawbacks of antipsychotic medication for Schizophrenia is when an individual finds the side effects so unpleasant they decide to stop taking them, or, due to the nature of Schizophrenia an individual’s thinking might be so disorganised they forget to take their medication, or they may feel better from taking the medication and decide they no longer need it.

However, taking the medicine reduces the chance of experiencing relapses and future psychotic episodes. It may not necessarily prevent relapses altogether but the medication is likely to reduce the frequency and the severity of the symptoms and there is a much higher risk of experiencing a relapse by stopping the medication.

It is therefore important not to stop taking any medication and if you are experiencing side effects you should inform your doctor or health care provider so that you can discuss treatment options and possibly be prescribed an alternative. What may suit one person may not suit another so it really is more a case of finding out what type of medication suits each individual.

A lot of progress has been made in recent years and risk of experiencing unpleasant side effects with the newer atypical antipsychotic drugs available is believed to be lower than with the older typical antipsychotic medicine.

Atypical antipsychotic drugs include Amisulpride, Clozapine, Risperidone and Olanzapine to name only a few. Examples of the older typical antipsychotic medicine include Haloperidol, Chlorpromazine and Thioridazine.

What are the most common side effects reported when taking antipsychotic drugs?

•    Dry mouth
•    Drowsiness
•    Blurred vision
•    Changes in bowel movements
•    Flushes
•    Weight gain
•    Sexual dysfunction

In some cases movement disorders can also occur which can include tremors, restlessness in the legs, involuntary movements affecting the face, body, arms and legs, tongue clicking or lip smacking etc. Movement disorders are thought to happen less with the so called atypical antipsychotic drugs but this isn’t always the case. If someone is taking an older typical antipsychotic drug and is tolerating it well there is no need to change.

Occasionally anti-depressants are also prescribed to people with Schizophrenia in order to treat some of the so called ‘negative’ symptoms. There have also been studies that have shown that Fish Oil can be effective for some people with Schizophrenia. Speak to your doctor for more information.

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