Medicines are the treatment that works best for schizophrenia, and you may be taking more than one at a time. They may be used for positive or negative symptoms, but they don't work as well for negative symptoms as they do for positive symptoms.
It may take time to find which medicines are best for you. This may be frustrating. Getting support from your family, your friends, and a community-based rehabilitation program is helpful, especially while you and your doctor are trying to find the best medicines. It also may help to speak with and get support from others who have had trouble finding the right medicines.
If you stop taking your medicines, you may have a relapse. Don't stop taking your medicines until you talk with your doctor. If you and your health care team decide you should stop using medicine, you will need to be checked on a regular basis.
Medicines used most often to treat schizophrenia include:
- Reference Antipsychotic medicines, such as aripiprazole, clozapine, and haloperidol.
These medicines often are used along with the medicines listed above:
- Reference Mood-stabilizing medicine such as carbamazepine, lithium, and valproate.
- Reference Antianxiety medicines, such as clonazepam and diazepam.
- Reference Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for depression, such as citalopram, escitalopram, and fluoxetine.
- Reference Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline, desipramine, and doxepin.
Because of side effects or the risk of side effects, you may be tempted to stop using your medicine. But if you stop using medicine, the symptoms of schizophrenia may come back or get worse.
If you have any concerns about side effects, talk to your doctor. He or she will work with you. Your doctor may give you a smaller dose of the antipsychotic medicine, have you try another antipsychotic medicine, or give you another medicine to treat the side effect.
Some side effects of antipsychotic medicines can be serious.
- Reference Neuroleptic malignant syndrome Opens New Window is a rare but life-threatening side effect of antipsychotics. The first signs usually include a fever between 102°F (38.9°C) and 103°F (39.4°C), a fast or irregular heartbeat, rapid breathing, and severe sweating.
- Reference Tardive dyskinesia Opens New Window is body movement that you can't control.
- Reference Type 2 diabetes Opens New Window might develop as a result of weight gain caused by some antipsychotics. Some antipsychotics may also increase Reference insulin resistance Opens New Window.
You may need Reference regular blood tests to check for side effects. Children, teens, and older adults may need to have blood tests more often than other people.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference August 31, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry