As with other medication, in addition their beneficial effects, antipsychotic drugs may have adverse effects, as well.
Earlier drugs used in the treatment of schizophrenia caused mainly adverse effects called extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS) related to motor activity, such as muscle spasms, muscle stiffness, tremor and agitation.1 Long-term adverse effects can cause bigger problems, in particular tardive dyskinesia (TD), which consists mainly of involuntary movement of the face and mouth that is often irreversible.
These side effects are less frequent with the new drugs though they still occur. New antipsychotic drugs are associated with a lower risk of motor disorders and TD.
Common adverse effects of some new therapies include weight gain and problems related to sexual desire
The patients sometimes discontinue treatment due to side effects, which in turn may lead to recurrence of schizophrenia symptoms, and therefore, it is very important that patients discuss with their doctor their treatment and their concerns related to side effects. Choosing the appropriate dose allows for optimizing the therapy and identifying an acceptable effect/side effect ratio.
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