Atypical Antipsychotic Drugs Used to Treat Schizophrenia

In the early 1990s, a new class of drugs were developed to treat the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. These drugs, the atypical antipsychotics, have proven generally as effective as the antipsychotics developed decades earlier, with fewer extrapyramidal side effects. This list of the atypical antipsychotics provides links to drug safety information from the drug manufacturers' websites.

Aripiprazole (Abilify)

  • Introduced in the US in 2003
  • Usual dose is 15-30 mg/day
  • Low incidence of motor side effects (extrapyramidal symptoms)
  • Less likely to cause weight gain than other atypical antipsychotics
  • May contribute to diabetes and elevated blood sugar

More »

Risperidone (Risperdal)

More »

Olanzapine (Zyprexa)

  • Introduced in the US in 1996
  • Typical dose is 10-20 mg/day
  • Low risk of motor side effects (extrapyramidal symptoms)
  • May improve negative symptoms
  • Significant potential for weight gain and risk of diabetes

More »

Quetiapine (Seroquel)

  • Introduced in US in 1997
  • Usual dose is 400-800 mg/day, higher for treatment-resistant illness
  • Low incidence of motor side effects (extrapyramidal symptoms)
  • Risk of weight gain and diabetes, but less than clozapine or olanzapine

More »

Ziprasidone (Geodon)

  • Introduced in the US in 2001
  • Usual dose is 80-160 mg/day; intramuscular formulation available
  • Low incidence of motor side effects (extrapyramidal symptoms)
  • Less likely to cause weight gain than other atypical antipsychotics
  • May contribute to cardiac arrhythmia, and must not be combined with other drugs having this effect

More »

Clozapine (Clozaril)

  • Introduced in the US in 1990
  • Typical dose is 300-700 mg/day
  • Demonstrated effective against treatment-resistant schizophrenia
  • May reduce suicidal behaviors
  • Can affect white blood cell count, therefore patients must have regular blood tests.
  • Significant potential for weight gain and risk of diabetes

Source: Torrey, E.F. Surviving Schizophrenia: a Manual for Families, Patients, and Providers, 5th Edition. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006.

More »

Continue Reading