Zyprexa, Risperdal, Seroquel, Solian, Abilify, Invega, Largactil, Serenace
AIM :The medication is intended to correct the chemical changes in your brain which cause many symptoms. In depression and anxiety treatment, low doses of these medications can be particularly useful when combined with antidepressants. In bipolar illness, these medications can prevent or minimise mood swings.
DOSAGE :The number of tablets you need to take will be kept to a minimum. Once your symptoms have subsided, it is often possible to decrease the dosage.
TIME OF TAKING MEDICATION :As regards their effectiveness, the timing is not important. However, as most people are made somewhat drowsy until they get used to the tablets, it is better to take the tablets at night (so improving your sleep also). Too many tablets at night would make you too drowsy in the morning, so that some of the tablets may have to be taken in the evening, or during the day. Before or after meals does not matter. For most people, Abilify and Solian are best taken earlier in the day.
SIDE EFFECTS :You may experience some or none of the following :
- Sleepiness – do not drive or take part in any activities requiring alertness (such as using machinery) if you are drowsy. This side effect usually subsides very quickly.
- Dry mouth – mouth washes, gargling, chewing gum or bitter drinks may help. Extra dental hygiene is important in the absence of saliva, as you are at increased risk of damage to teeth and gums.
- Difficulty reading fine print – inexpensive, over-the-counter glasses may help.
- Constipation or difficulty passing urine.
- Dizziness when standing up or getting out of bed or after exercise (especially with RISPERDAL).
- Breast tenderness or producing milk (especially on Risperdal)
- Skin rashes or undue sensitivity to sun.
- Weight gain (usually not a problem on Abilify).
- A few patients develop the following side effects, which are easily reversed by the appropriate antidotes : eg. hands shaking, restless legs, muscle stiffness, stiffness when walking, staring expression, trouble with the tongue, trouble swallowing saliva, or muscle spasm.
ALCOHOL :You can safely have a small amount of alcohol while taking these tablets, but do remember that one drink may have the effect of 2 or 3 drinks.
LENGTH OF TREATMENT :Many people need to continue this medication for a considerable period of time, to prevent recurrence of the original chemical imbalance. Each individual case needs to be considered separately. If you intend becoming pregnant, you may be advised to stop the medication. These tablets are not addictive.
TARDIVE DYSKINESIA :A problem with long term use of these medications is the risk of prolonged and sometimes irreversible movement disorders, typically continuous chewing movements. The risk of this disorder (about 5% a year) has to be balanced against the risk of the illness not being treated. Zyprexa, Risperdal and Seroquel are less likely to cause this problem.
PREGNANCY : If you are thinking of becoming pregnant you will probably have to stop the medication.