Side Effects of Antipsychotics

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Antipsychotics are the most common medications used to treat schizophrenia and other disorders related to schizophrenia. Typical antipsychotics have been in use since the 1950s, and newer atypical antipsychotics were introduced in the 1990s. Both types of antipsychotics are effective for many people, but both also cause a number of possible side effects. Some side effects may lessen or go away after several days of use, and others can be successfully managed.

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, side effects common to most antipsychotics include drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, rapid heartbeat, skin rashes, sensitivity to sunlight, and menstrual problems in women.

Side effects related to physical movement are known to occur in people taking typical antipsychotics. These may include rigidity, muscle spasms, tremors, and restlessness. Long-term use may cause tardive dyskinesia, which causes uncontrollable muscle movements.

Atypical antipsychotics may cause side effects like significant weight gain and changes in metabolism that can increase a person's risk of developing diabetes and high cholesterol.

The side effects associated with antipsychotics can be bothersome, but it is important to not stop taking a medication without first consulting your doctor.