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Minerva Psichiatrica 2014 September;55(3):143-51

language: English

Preventing side effects of antipsychotic medications

Datta S. S. 1, 2, Imran S. 3, Kumar A. 4, Das D. 5, Jacob R. 6, 7

1 Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry at the Maudsley King’s College, London, UK;
2 Department of Psycho‑oncology and Palliative Care, Tata Medical Center, Kolkata, India;
3 Junction 17, Greater Manchester West Mental Health, NHS Foundation Trust, Prestwich, Manchester;
4 South West Yorkshire Partnership, NHS Foundation Trust, Wakefield, UK;
5 Antara Psychiatric Center, Antaragram, Kolkata, India;
6 Department of General Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, Singapore;
7 Adjunct Assistant Professor National University of Singapore-YLL School of Medicine and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore


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Antipsychotic medications are commonly used for several psychiatric conditions. Both first generation antipsychotic (FGA) medications and second generation antipsychotic (SGA) medications are associated with a variety of side effects that often jeopardise treatment and the quality of life of the patients receiving the medications. The side effects often lead to poor treatment adherence and ultimately relapse of the psychiatric illness for which they were prescribed. In the real world, often the potential side effects dictate the choice of medications more than other factors like clinical efficacy. Various risk factors for specific side effects are now known. This article focuses on the strategies that a clinician may use to predict and prevent at least some of the side effects like extra pyramidal symptoms, cardiac side effects, metabolic syndrome, dyslipidaemia and sexual dysfunctions in high risk patients. Primary and secondary preventive measures are discussed in light of current evidence and clinical experience of using antipsychotic medication.

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