Schizophrenia Medication Benefits and Side Effects

The drugs commonly used for schizophrenia are antipsychotic drugs. This drug is used to improve the symptoms experienced by sufferers. Antipsychotic drugs usually must be used in the long term, so that pasienschizophrenia and familyhis need to really understand the possible side effectstarise.

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects a person's feelings, thoughts, and behavior. Symptoms that appear can include:

  • Negative symptoms, such as loss of motivation to live, difficulty concentrating, unable to show expressions and feelings, no desire to take care of yourself.
  • Positive symptoms, such as hallucinating and having strong beliefs about things that don't really exist or are false (delusions).
  • Having a thought pattern disorder, for example a strange thought pattern that is difficult for others to understand.
  • Difficulty remembering (memory impairment).
  • Difficult to establish social relationships with other people.
  • Mood or mood swings.

Benefits of Antipsychotic Drugs

Schizophrenia or antipsychotic drugs work by changing the activity of certain chemicals in the brain. Some of these drugs are given in the form of oral drugs, such as tablets, capsules, or syrups, and some are in the form of injections.

Antipsychotic medications can help reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia. The effects seen in people with schizophrenia after taking this drug include:

  • Less hallucinations.
  • The delusions start to weaken and disappear after a few weeks.
  • Reduced feelings of anxiety, guilt, tension, and difficulty concentrating.
  • The ability to interact with other people is getting better.

After 6 weeks of taking regular schizophrenic or antipsychotic medications, most sufferers will feel much better in general than before.

It should be understood that while antipsychotic drugs can help prevent relapse and relieve symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations and delusions, they cannot completely cure schizophrenia.

Most sufferers need to take the drug in the long term, even when there are no symptoms, so as not to relapse.

Taking antipsychotic drugs in doses recommended by doctors on a regular basis is expected to keep the mental and physical health conditions of people with schizophrenia stable. That way, various therapies and other efforts, such as psychotherapy and support from the family, can provide optimal results.

Side Effects of Antipsychotic Drugs

Currently there are two categories of antipsychotic drugs, namely first generation antipsychotic drugs (haloperidol and chlorpromazine) and the second generation (risperidone, olanzapine, and quetiapine). A mental health specialist (psychiatrist) will determine the type and dose of medication used based on the patient's diagnosis and condition.

Each drug has different side effects, but in general, the possible side effects of antipsychotic drugs are:

extrapyramidal syndrome

This syndrome consists of a collection of symptoms consisting of:

  • Dystonia or muscles moving uncontrollably, especially muscles in the neck area. This condition can cause the head to tilt or look back repeatedly, squinting eyes, protruding tongue, and abnormal body posture.
  • akathisia, in which the patient feels restless and continues to move the body.
  • Tardive dyskinesia, which is characterized by repeated chewing or sucking movements of the mouth.
  • Symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease, such as shaking (tremors) and body movements

Symptoms of this extrapyramidal syndrome are more common in schizophrenic patients taking first-generation antipsychotic drugs.

Other side effects

Apart from extrapyramidal syndrome, there are also some other side effects of schizophrenia medications, such as:

  • Weight gain, as well as increased blood sugar and cholesterol levels. This effect is mainly due to second generation antipsychotics.
  • Dizzy.
  • Weak.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Heart beat.
  • Skin rash.
  • Libido disorders.

Uncomfortable side effects are indeed one of the reasons many patients or their families stop treatment for schizophrenia when symptoms begin to improve. But keep in mind, these drugs are not recommended to be stopped suddenly without the knowledge of the doctor, because it can trigger a relapse of schizophrenia symptoms.

If the dose of the drug needs to be reduced to prevent the risk of side effects from the drug, the doctor will usually reduce it gradually. In addition, the side effects of antipsychotic drugs can be minimized by giving anticholinergic drugs, which are usually used to treat Parkinson's disease.

It is important for schizophrenic patients to have regular check-ups with doctors and tell the development of their symptoms, so that the drug dose is adjusted to the patient's latest condition. If the schizophrenic patient is difficult to communicate with, the family is expected to assist during the examination.

Written by:

dr. Irene Cindy Sunur