Side Effects of Geodon in Bipolar Disorder

Geodon Side Effects and Warnings from the FDA and Drug Manufacturer

Bipolar depression. Credit: Credit: Peter DazeleyMore / Getty Images

Geodon (ziprasidone) is an antipsychotic medication sometimes prescribed for the treatment of mania in bipolar disorder.

If you are prescribed Geodon for bipolar disorder, it's a good idea to be aware of the side effects. This way, you can check in with your doctor if one or more side effects is bothering you or not getting better.

What Health Conditions is Geodon Prescribed for?

Geodon is prescribed for the treatment of schizophrenia, and the acute treatment of mania in bipolar disorder.

It can also be used as maintenance therapy in people with bipolar disorder, if used in combination with a mood stabilizer, like lithium or Depakote (valproate).

What Side Effects May I Get if I Take Geodon?

In people with bipolar who take Geodon for a manic episode, there are a number of potential side effects. Here are some commonly reported side effects divided up based on the body system affected:

  • Nervous System: abnormal vision, dizziness or lightheadedness, headache, extrapyramidal movements like akathisia (restlessness, cannot sit still) or dystonia (involuntary tightening or spasm of your muscles)
  • Psychiatric : anxiety and depression
  • Skin: rash
  • Gastrointestinal: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or trouble swallowing
  • Ear/Nose/Throat: dry mouth, increased salivation, tongue edema, speech disorder, sore throat
  • Lung: feeling short of breath
  • Other: muscle aches, high blood pressure

It's important to get in touch with your doctor if you experience any of these side effects, or other ones that you believe are related to taking Geodon, especially if they do not get better with time or are causing discomfort.

Your doctor may be able to change the dosage of the medication, have a solution for the side effect, or may consider switching to a different medication. Sometimes you just need reassurance that the side effect will get better with time. Regardless, don't carry the worry on your shoulders — speak with your doctor if you are concerned.

What Serious Side Effects May Occur with Geodon?

There are some potentially very serious side effects that may occur with Geodon. For instance, one of the main concerns with Geodon is that it can lengthen something called the QT interval, a measurement seen on an EKG, which can affect a person's heart rhythm. Before prescribing Geodon, your doctor will want to be sure that you are not on other medications that could lengthen the QT interval, and that you do not have certain underlying heart conditions.

Other potentially serious side effects of Geodon include:

  • Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome — a complex, serious neurological syndrome characterized by changes in blood pressure, muscle rigidity, fever, and confusion
  • Potentially life-threatening skin reactions, like Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Tardive Dyskinesia — repetitive movements of the face, trunk, and limbs that is out of a person's control
  • Orthostatic Hypotension — feeling lightheaded when rising to a standing position, after laying down
  • Changes with a person's metabolism including, alteration in their cholesterol, weight gain, and a rise in blood sugar
  • Rash — it's advised by the manufacturer that anyone with a rash of unknown cause stop the medication. Be sure though to contact your doctor before stopping your medication.
  • Reduction in infection-fighting cells in the blood
  • Seizures
  • Problems with thinking and movement 
  • Increased risk of suicide

What are the Signs of a Geodon Overdose?

Sometimes a person accidentally or intentionally overdoses on Geodon. In this case, it's important you call your doctor immediately or call 911 if an emergency. Signs of an overdose may include:

  • drowsiness
  • slurring of speech
  • transient rise in blood pressure
  • tremor
  • anxiety
  • movement symptoms like akathisia or dystonia

How Can I Keep Myself Safe?

It's important that if you are prescribed Geodon, you inform your doctor of any other medications or over-the-counter supplements you are taking. To keep track, consider creating a medication list on your phone or carry around a list in your wallet. Ask you doctors to update it at each appointment.

Disclaimer: This is not intended to be all-inclusive or to replace information provided by your doctor.

Sources:

FDA. (Revised June 2008). Geodon. Retrieved November 18th 2015.

Continue Reading