Side Effects – Atypical antipsychotics
Some people have side effects when they start taking atypical antipsychotics. Most side effects go away after a few days and often can be managed successfully. People who are taking antipsychotics should not drive until they adjust to their new medication. Side effects of many antipsychotics include:
- Dizziness when changing positions
- Blurred vision
- Rapid heartbeat
- Sensitivity to the sun
- Skin rashes
- Menstrual problems for women.
Atypical antipsychotic medications can cause major weight gain and changes in a person’s metabolism. This may increase a person’s risk of getting diabetes and high cholesterol. A person’s weight, glucose levels, and lipid levels should be monitored regularly by a doctor while taking these medications.
In rare cases, long-term use of atypical antipsychotic drugs may lead to a condition called tardive dyskinesia (TD). The condition causes muscle movements that commonly occur around the mouth. A person with TD cannot control these moments. TD can range from mild to severe, and it cannot always be cured. Some people with TD recover partially or fully after they stop taking the drug.
The Psychotropic Drug Advisory Service (PDAS) in Melbourne is an independent source for information on medicines used to treat mental illnesses and other drugs that affect the way we think, feel and behave. Service users include individuals, medical practitioners, health care professionals, mental health care support organisations and their staff, carers and consumers. Though predominantly telephone based, the service is also accessed via email and facsimile.
PDAS provides advice on:-
- Treatment choice
- Treatment response
- Adverse effects of medications, as well as other psychoactive substances
- Interactions between medications and other drugs
- Specific information on the use of medications by special populations (e.g. children, adolescents, the elderly and women who are pregnant or breast feeding)