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J Clin Psychiatry. 1996;57 Suppl 11:40-5; discussion 46-52.

Side effect profiles of new antipsychotic agents.

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  • 1Psychiatry Service (116A), VA Medical Center, Portland, OR 97207, USA.


Although neuroleptic drugs have become the mainstay of treating acute and chronic psychosis, they are substantially limited by troublesome side effects. The traditional neuroleptic drugs have a wide array of central nervous system and peripheral system side effects that often lead to problems in management or patient noncompliance. Of particular difficulty are the extrapyramidal symptoms and tardive dyskinesia. However, other side effects of seizures, sedation, neuroleptic malignant syndrome and cardiovascular, hematologic, endocrinological, and weight gain problems remain as clinical management challenges posed by existing antipsychotic drug therapy. Considerable progress has been made in improving the motor side effect profile with the advent of clozapine and risperidone. However, each of these drugs has its own dose-limiting side effect profile. Two new drugs, olanzapine and sertindole, are now added to the pharmacopeia for treating psychosis. They further improve the benefit/ risk ratio because they have even fewer EPS and other side effects. Overall, these new antipsychotic agents greatly improve the treatment of psychosis by reducing drug-induced morbidity and improving the quality of life for patients.

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