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CNS Spectr. 2007 Oct;12(10 Suppl 17):12-20, 35.

Balancing efficacy and safety in treatment with antipsychotics.

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  • 1Recognition and Prevention Program, Zucker Hillside Hospital, Queens, New York, USA.


Balancing efficacy with tolerability and safety of prescribed treatments is critical to optimizing antipsychotic treatment outcomes in the mentally ill. Symptom control, symptom remission, and functional recovery are only realistic goals when treatments are both effective and well tolerated. The consideration of predictable differences in antipsychotic adverse-effect profiles is central to successful illness management. Minimizing adverse effects on alertness, motivation, cognition, sexual/reproductive functioning, and physical health enhances mental health outcomes, partly through improving treatment adherence. Neuroendocrine and metabolic side effects of antipsychotics for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality need to be addressed proactively and aggressively. In view of the widespread lack of primary care engagement and the adverse effects of psychotropic medications on cardiovascular health, psychiatric care providers should function as key facilitators of an integrated mental and physical health management approach. In addition to psychoeducation and healthy lifestyle counseling, clinicians can improve psychiatric and physical health by selecting medications carefully, routinely screening and monitoring for reversible cardiovascular risk factors, and playing an active role in the prevention and interdisciplinary management of cardiovascular risk factors and medical illness in the vulnerable mentally ill.

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