Also known as Second-generation antipsychotics, the Atypical Antipsychotic drug is a class of drugs used to treat psychiatric symptoms, especially Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder. Being a newer generation of drugs, atypical antipsychotic drugs are found to be more effective than the first-generation drugs. More importantly, they are found to have lesser extrapyramidal side effects. Extrapyramidal effects are movement inducing side effects, including parkinsonism, Akathisia (restlessness of the legs), Tardive dyskinesia (rhythmic, involuntary movements), etc, which are caused by the intake of the first generation antipsychotic drugs. Atypical antipsychotic drugs work by blocking the receptors in the brain's dopamine pathway. Dopamine is one of the most important chemicals associated with symptoms like hallucinations, mood swings, delusions, etc. By blocking these chemicals, the symptoms also recede.
Major drugs approved by the FDA in this class include:
The atypical antipsychotics are used in the treatment of following mental illnesses:
The atypical antipsychotics are believed to have lesser side effects than the typical ones, and this is why, they are the first line of treatment to be used. However, this does not mean that there are no side effects at all. Atypical antipsychotic drugs may result in:
The intake of atypical antipsychotic drugs results in metabolic risks including weight gain. This weight gain poses further problems, including the risk of diabetes. It is, therefore, imperative that the person incorporates lifestyle changes aimed at controlling weight and creating a healthy body.
Warning: Antipsychotic drugs are not prescribed to people who are in a coma, have a depression of the central nervous system or have a tumor of the adrenal gland.
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