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Antipsychotic drugs

BMJ Group Medical Reference

If you're an adult with OCD and antidepressants don't work, taking an antipsychotic drug as well may help you. [71] [72] These drugs are usually used to treat serious mental health problems that cause people to lose touch with reality. They aren't usually used in children with OCD.

The drugs that helped in the studies were:

  • Haloperidol (Dozic, Serenace)

  • Quetiapine (Seroquel)

  • Risperidone (Risperdal).

Reviews of the research have found that people had fewer symptoms of OCD when they took an antipsychotic drug as well as an antidepressant. [71] [72] People in the studies had already tried antidepressants without getting any better.

Antipsychotic drugs can have side effects. Some of the people in the studies: [73] [74]

  • Felt very sleepy

  • Felt like eating more

  • Put on weight

  • Got buzzing or ringing in their ears (tinnitus)

  • Felt sick

  • Felt dizzy.

But people in the studies were taking an antidepressant as well as an antipsychotic drug. This makes it hard to know which drug caused the side effects.

Some people taking antipsychotic drugs get muscle twitches or movements of their face that they can't control. [75] These problems are more common with older antipsychotics, such as haloperidol.

One study has found that haloperidol increases the risk of dangerous heart problems. [76] It's hard to say exactly how common this is. But the study found that, over a year, about 1 in 1,000 people in the general population die suddenly because their heart stops beating (a cardiac arrest). [76] Among people taking haloperidol, however, this increases to 5 in 1,000. There have also been reports of people getting dangerous blood clots in their veins while taking antipsychotic drugs. [77] However, it's not yet clear whether the clots were caused by the drugs.


systematic reviews

A systematic review is a thorough look through published research on a particular topic. Only studies that have been carried out to a high standard are included. A systematic review may or may not include a meta-analysis, which is when the results from individual studies are put together.

For more terms related to Obsessive-compulsive disorder


For references related to Obsessive-compulsive disorder click here.
Last Updated: June 21, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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