Types of Medication for Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder characterized by symptoms of behavior, social problems and thought. It is a severe, chronic, debilitating mental illness that affects about 2% (four million people) of the United States population alone. A patient is said to be suffering from acute Schizophrenia where psychotic means being out of touch with the reality or being unable to distinguish between the real and unreal experiences. There is no single known cause of Schizophrenia but genetic factors play a major role.

There are many treatments of schizophrenia, these medications are called antipsychotic as they decrease psychotic symptoms intensity. They include:

  • risperidone (Risperdal)
  • olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • aripiprazole (Abilify)
  • asenapine (Saphis)
  • ziprasidone (Geodon)
  • quetiapine (Seroquel)
  • lloperidone (Fanapt)
  • paliperidone (Invega)
  • lurasidone (Latuda)

This is the second-generation antipsychotic also known as the newer group of antipsychotic medication. They work quick compared to other psychiatric medication. However, they have some side effects, which include dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain and increased appetite. They are also associated with elevated blood sugar level, increased prolactin level and high blood lipid levels.

Older antipsychotic medication like the bupropion (Wellbutrin) and haloperidol (Haldol) used to cause shakiness, muscle stiffness and tardive dyskinesia (uncoordinated muscle twitches). Health specialist should therefore monitor their patients in case of these side effects. However, a research that was done has proved that the first generation or older schizophrenia medication is just as effective as the newer generation treatments and there are no cases where patients stop using their medication because of the associated side effects. Not all the schizophrenia medication that can be used by adults can also be used to treat children suffering from schizophrenia, therefore caution should be taken.

Mood-stabilizer medications

They include:

  • divalproex (Depakote)
  • lithium (Lithobid)
  • lamotrigine (Lamictal)
  • carbamazepine (Tegretol)

They are used to treat mood swings, which occur to people with diagnosable mood disorder together with psychotic symptom. An example is schizophrenia, depression and schizoaffective disorder. This medication take longer to work as compared to antipsychotic medications. Some of the Mood-stabilizer medications such as divalproex, carbamazepine and lithium may cause birth defects in pregnant women and they require monitoring of the medication blood levels.

Antidepressant medications

These primary medications are prescribed to someone suffering from depression. They can accompany schizophrenia. They include:

SSRI which affects the level of serotonin like (Prozac) fluoxetine, paroxetine(Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), escitalopram (Lexapro) and citalopram (Celexa) combined with adrenergic/ serotonergic medication also known as SNRIs and they include duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine (Effexor) and bupropion (Wellbutrin) which affects dopamine levels

Despite its bad history, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can also be used to treat people with schizophrenia and anyone who is not responding to psychosocial interventions and medication trials.

When dealing with pregnant mothers, a lot of care should be taken to avoid risking the life of the fetus. They should try to stabilize the patient as well as minimize any risk to the unborn baby. Some of the medications administered to patients may carry certain risk that can even be passed during breastfeeding, therefore careful monitoring should be taken to avoid any risk to the mother and fetus.

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