Atypical antipsychotics are used for schizophrenia (both positive and negative symptoms), and can also be indicated for bipolar disorder, OCD, anxiety, depression, Tourette's syndrome and mania.
The pharmacology behind these drugs is unclear and the mechanism of action behind each drug varies. However, they are believed to have varied antagonistic effects on 5HT/D2 receptors as well as D2 agonist effects.
Clozapine must be closely monitored, as it causes this side effect. 3-5% percent of patients on this drug experience seizures. Patients with a history of seizures should avoid this medication.
Several SGAs have been tied to the side effect of prolonged QT interval, however the medication Ziprasidone has been associated with the highest risk.
Clozapine is a commonly used atypical antipsychotic for treatment resistant schizophrenia. Prescribers need to demonstrate their competence prior to being able to prescribe this medication, as it is important to routinely monitor this medication at specific intervals to avoid agranulocytosis. Patients require weekly WBC monitoring for the first 6 months then regular monitoring thereafter.
Olanzapine and Clozapine have been known to cause weight gain in patients.
Atypical antipsychotics have a more favorable side effect profile, with less extrapyramidal side effects when compared to typical antipsychotics.
In comparison to typical antipsychotics, these medications are better tolerated because they cause fewer anticholinergic effects.
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