Schizophrenia Medication for Treatment and Management of Symptoms

 

Not long ago little was known about schizophrenia.

The treatments were based on archaic beliefs that people who displayed symptoms of schizophrenia were ‘possessed.’

The information on schizophrenia that was available was limited and the illness was commonly referred to as everything from possession by demons to witchcraft. The cause of schizophrenia, much less a viable treatment was beyond the scope of medicine at that time.

Early Medication for Schizophrenia

Antipsychotics that were used as some of the first treatment options included Haldol and Thorazine. They were called neuroleptics or typical antipsychotics.

This type of schizophrenia medication has been known to cause side effects that were similar to symptoms of schizophrenia. They included lack of motivation and expression of emotions.
Available since approximately the mid-1950s, these medications did though reduce many of the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Treatment for the symptoms of schizophrenia depends on making the right choice of medication and dosage. A qualified doctor must determine the right dosage for the maximum benefits.

Since many people respond differently to how much is needed to reduce symptoms without causing a mirage of side effects, this is a very important part of the treatment of schizophrenia.

What are some of the side effects of typical antipsychotic drugs?

• Muscle stiffness
• Weight gain
• Muscle cramps
• Dry mouth
• Tremors
• Extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS), which can include an uncontrollable urge to move constantly or muscle movements that are repetitive in nature as well as involuntary.

In the 1990s, atypical antipsychotics began to be developed for use in treating schizophrenia. Some of these included Risperdal, Clozaril, Abilify, Zyprexa, Geodon, Seroquel and Invega.

What are some of the side effects caused by atypical antipsychotic drugs?

• Blurred vision
• Skin rashes
• Drowsiness
• Rapid heartbeat
• Dizziness
• Sun sensitivity
• Menstrual problems

These are just a few of the ones that may be experienced.
Other side effects include increasing the risk of developing high cholesterol or diabetes.
For this reason, when taking schizophrenia medication such as atypical antipsychotics, a doctor should keep track of lipid and glucose levels as well as the patient’s weight gain.

living-with-schizophrenia

What are the Symptoms that are helped by Schizophrenia Medication?

There are many symptoms associated with different types of schizophrenia.

A qualified doctor must assess the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia.
Diagnosing schizophrenia includes eliminating any medical reasons that could be responsible as well as compiling a medical history of the patient. This, in combination with a physical examination and tests that are conducted will provide the doctor with the information needed to prescribe treatment, which includes schizophrenia medication and other methods of coping with schizophrenia.

Some of the symptoms a doctor will typically look for are:

1. Hallucinations
2. Delusions
3. Lack of emotional expressiveness
4. Withdrawal from society
5. Diminished interest in or enjoyment of activities
6. Abnormal conception of reality
7. Disorganized thought

It has been determined through research that many of these symptoms can effectively be treated with the use of certain medications.

One example is Clozaril. It has been used to successfully treat hallucinations and delusions.

The first drug used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia was actually discovered by accident.

Schizophrenia diagnosis

 

How Drugs began to be used for Treatment

Thorazine was an antihistamine that was given to patients by a Paris surgeon, Henri Laborit.

He was looking for a way to reduce surgical shock that was the result of anesthesia. When he gave Thorazine to his patients, they were less stressed by the impending surgery and Laborit used less anesthesia.

This led Laborit to believe that Thorazine would be beneficial in the field of psychiatry.

At this time drugs were not even considered by psychiatrists. However, one doctor, Pierre Deniker became interested in the reaction of patients who were given Thorazine. He decided to try it on his patients and was amazed by the results.

This led the way to the use of other medications such as Mellaril, Trilafon, Stelazine, Navane, Prolixin and Haldol as treatments for schizophrenia.

Although these drugs were beneficial for treatment of the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, they did cause side effects for many people.
Many of the negative symptoms of schizophrenia were not relieved by the use of these medications.

Let’s take a look at some of the older schizophrenia drugs:

Haldol
This medication is often prescribed for symptoms of schizophrenia, such as distinguishing what is real and what is not.

Loxitane
As a treatment for symptoms such as the loss of interest in activities normally enjoyed or disorganized thought, Loxitane is one of a group of conventional antipsychotic drugs.

Moban
This schizophrenia medication is also used to treat loss of interest in activities as well as disorganized thought and emotional reactions that are not appropriate.

Trilafon
This is also one of a group of medications called conventional antipsychotics. It is used to treat loss of interest in activities, disorganized thought and inappropriate emotional responses.

Stelazine
This medication is used for treating the same symptoms of schizophrenia as the ones mentioned above.

Navane
One of a group of conventional antipsychotic drugs, this medication is used for the symptoms mentioned above.

As medication for schizophrenia, each of these drugs work by lessening excitement in the brain that is considered unnatural.
Many are still used; however, advancements in developing medications for this disorder have resulted in several new drugs that are beneficial to patients for coping with schizophrenia.
The thought was that the older drugs caused more side effects and were not as effective, but this is not necessarily true.

Take a look at some of the newer medications for schizophrenia symptoms:

Abilify
This medication for schizophrenia is used to treat diminished interest in life, disorganized thought and emotional reactions that are not considered appropriate.

Saphris
This medication for schizophrenia is often used in combination with other drugs to treat mania and can be given to patients with bipolar disorder. It is used to treat a lack of interest in everyday activities, inappropriate emotions and disorganized thinking.

Clozaril
This medication is also used for the same symptoms for which newer medications are used. In addition, it is often given to patients that have not experienced relief from the symptoms of schizophrenia when given other medications.

Fanapt
Another schizophrenia medication used for treating symptoms such as inappropriate emotions, disorganized thinking and lack of interest in everyday activities, Fanapt is an atypical antipsychotic.

Zydis
This medication is used to treat inappropriate emotions, lack of interest in everyday activities and disorganized thinking. It is also used to treat bipolar disorder.

Palperidone
The symptoms mentioned above are typically treated with this medication. It is an atypical antipsychotic.

Many of the new drugs that have only been on the market for the last 15 or 20 years are more effective at treating schizophrenia symptoms such as lack of motivation, apathy and the inability to express emotions. The older medications often did not work as well.
The newer antipsychotics work by changing specific substances in the brain.

medical-help-for-recovery-for-schizophrenia

Taking the schizophrenia medication as directed is very important for controlling symptoms.
This is one of the problems faced by doctors.

Often people experience side effects and they stop taking the medication.
Studies have shown that among those who experience side effects, 20% to 30% stop taking their medication within a few days. Within six months, 35% to 40% will go off their medicine and within a year to 18 months, 65% to 80% stop taking their medicine.

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