What medications are used to treat schizophrenia?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
The most common medication used to treat schizophrenia is an antipsychotic medication. There are two types: typical and atypical. The typical ones were developed at the height of I Love Lucy’s popularity. Atypical antipsychotics were developed at the height of Friends and Seinfeld in the 1990s. Both reduce the positive and negative symptoms. Typical antipsychotics tend to treat the negative symptoms better, so it is not uncommon for you to be on multiple medications at once.

Some of the other medications you may be on include anticonvulsants, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, mood stabilizers, beta-blockers, and lithium. However, don’t be surprised if the cocktail you’re taking changes over time.
Many drugs used to treat schizophrenia can cause some nasty side effects. Some have to be watched as closely as a toddler on a playground and blood tests may be necessary, so be sure to tell your doctor about anything unusual. And definitely do not stop taking the meds cold turkey.
There are a number of medications especially designed to treat schizophrenia. The most commonly used medications are called antipsychotics. The first medications which were developed are called typical (conventional) antipsychotics, and include: Chlorpromazine, Fluphenazine, Flupentixol, Haloperidol, Loxapine, Perphenazine, Thiothixene and Thioridazine. Recently a "new generation" of antipsychotics has been developed, and they generally produce fewer side-effects. These second generation (atypical) antipsychotics include: Amisulpride, Aripriprazole, Clozapine, Olanzapine, Quietiapine, Risperidone, Sertindole and Ziprasidone.
Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
Antipsychotic medications are the most commonly used drugs to treat schizophrenia. These medicines balance chemicals in the brain to reduce the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, including delusions and hallucinations. There are two classes of antipsychotics: conventional and atypical. The first group of antipsychotics, conventional antipsychotics, was introduced in the 1950s. This group includes chlorpromazine, fluphenazine, thioridazine, haloperidol, thiothixene, trifluoperazine, and perphenazine. In the 1990s, atypical antipsychotics were developed. Not only did these atypicals work to relieve positive symptoms of schizophrenia, but they also reduced the negative symptoms, such as disoriented thinking and isolation. This group of medications includes risperidone, clozapine, olanzapine, quetiapine, and ziprasidone, among others.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.