After starting antipsychotic medications, what should a person expect?

Mark Moronell, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
During the first few weeks after starting antipsychotic medications, patients may experience several different things. First, their medications might start working quickly, and their distress and psychotic symptoms may lessen within several days. Within six weeks, most of their symptoms will improve, or even disappear entirely. Some people will respond better to certain medications than others. Taking antidepressant or anti-anxiety medications along with antipsychotics can help some people achieve the best results. Psychiatrists usually monitor patients closely during the first few weeks of treatment to manage any serious side effects that occur. Unfortunately, it is hard to predict how people respond to these drugs. In fact, three percent of people who take antipsychotic medications may develop a serious, and sometimes deadly disease, called neuroleptic malignant syndrome.

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