What are some serious side effects from schizophrenia medications?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
Schizophrenia medications, also known as antipsychotic medications, can cause many side effects, including agranulocytosis and tardive dyskinesia, which may be quite severe. There are two classes of antipsychotic medications for schizophrenia: typical (conventional) and atypical (second generation). 

All of these medications have potential side effects, but agranulocytosis and tardive dyskinesia can be serious. One of the newer atypical antipsychotic medications, clozapine, can cause agranulocytosis. Left untreated and unchecked, clozapine can lower one's white blood cell count drastically, causing infections and illness. If a person chooses to take clozapine, he will need to visit a lab to have their white blood cell count checked several times a month. Another serious side effect, caused by long-term use of typical antipsychotics, is tardive dyskinesia (TD). This condition is causes uncontrollable muscle movements, usually near the mouth. TD cannot be cured in some cases, although some people do improve when they discontinue the medication.

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