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Antipsychotic schizophrenia medication

Alongside psychological treatment for schizophrenia, antipsychotic medication may be prescribed by mental health specialists.

Treatment may be planned to prevent symptoms in the long-term, or to treat psychotic episodes in the short-term.

Antipsychotic medication works by blocking the effects of the chemical dopamine on the brain.

Antipsychotics may be taken as tablets, or given by injection.

In the short-term, antipsychotics can reduce symptoms of anxiety or aggression.

Over a longer period of time, hallucinations or delusional thoughts may be reduced.

Newer antipsychotics, called atypical antipsychotics tend to be prescribed first as they have fewer side-effects.

Older antipsychotics, called typical antipsychotics may also be a treatment option in some cases.

Side-effects of antipsychotics

Side effects of antipsychotics include:

  • Shaking
  • Trembling
  • Muscle twitching or spasms
  • Drowsiness
  • Weight gain
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Loss of  sex drive
  • Dry mouth

If side-effects are severe, an alternative medication may be recommended.

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on September 12, 2014

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