Side Effects of Anti Psychotics

Anti-psychotic medications do have side effects. They include dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, and drowsiness. Some people taking the medications can experience a difficulty in urinating that ranges from mild problems in beginning urination to complete inability to urinate, a condition that requires prompt medical attention.

For many, these side effects lessen over several weeks as their bodies adapt to the medication. To lessen constipation, people taking antipsychotic medications can eat more fruits and vegetables and drink at least eight glasses of water per day.

Other side effects include greater risk of sunburn, changes in white blood cell count (with clozapine), low blood pressure when standing or sitting up, akathisia, dystonia, parkinsonism, and tardive dyskinesia.

Patients with akathisia (which to some degree affects up to 75 percent of those treated with anti-psychotic medications) feel restless or unable to sit still. While this side effect is difficult to treat, some medications, among them propranolol, clonidine, lorazepam and diazepam, can help. Those with dystonia (between 1 and 8 percent of patients taking anti-psychotic medications) feel painful, tightening spasms of the muscles, particularly those in the face and neck. This side effect is also treatable with other medications, including benztropine, trihexyphenidyl, procyclidine, and diphenhydramine, that act as antidotes. Parkinsonism is a group of symptoms that resemble those brought on by Parkinson's disease, including loss of facial expression, slowed movements, rigidity in arms and legs, drooling, and/or shuffling gait. It affects up to one-third of those taking anti-psychotic medications, and is also treatable with the medications mentioned for treatment of dystonia, with the exception of diphenhydramine. Tardive dyskinesia is one of the most serious side effects of anti-psychotic medications. This condition affects between 20 and 25 percent of persons taking antipsychotic drugs. Tardive dyskinesia causes involuntary muscular movements, and though it can affect any muscle group, it often affects facial muscles. There is no known cure for these involuntary movements (though some drugs, including reserpine and levodopa, may help), and tardive dyskinesia may be permanent unless its onset is detected early. Psychiatrists emphasize that patients and their family members should watch closely for any signs of this condition. If it begins to develop, the physician can discontinue the medication.

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