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What are some common antipsychotic medications?

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Haloperidol, perphenazine and chlorpromazine are commonly prescribed conventional, or typical, antipsychotics, used to treat schizophrenia, and risperidone, ziprasidone, paliperidone and olanzapine are newer, atypical antipsychotics, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Abilify, Seroquel, Zyprexa and Clozaril are atypical antipsychotics used to treat bipolar disorder, adds WebMD.

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Individuals taking second generation, atypical medication for schizophrenia usually notice a marked decrease in agitated feelings and hallucinations within days of beginning treatment, explains NIMH. Delusions usually get better after a few weeks, and within six weeks, an individual’s improvement is often significant. Common side effects include blurred vision, accelerated heartbeat, dizziness, drowsiness and skin rashes. Women may experience menstrual problems, and photosensitivity and weight gain are common. Because atypical antipsychotics cause significant changes in metabolism that can lead to high cholesterol and diabetes, doctors monitor individuals using these drugs on a regular basis.

When used to treat bipolar disorder, antipsychotic drugs help improve manic moods quickly, reports WebMD. They treat the psychotic symptoms that sometimes occur during a severe depression or acute manic episode, such as delusions and hallucinations. Doctors sometimes prescribe antipsychotics to individuals with bipolar disorder who find their sedative properties helpful in alleviating anxiety and insomnia. Several atypical antipsychotics appear to be very successful at preventing future episodes of mania or depression, and are often a good treatment option for individuals who do not respond well to lithium or anticonvulsants.

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