An Overview of Side Effects Caused by Typical Antipsychotics
J Clin Psychiatry 2000;61(suppl 8):5-11
© Copyright 2017 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Typical antipsychotics often combine efficacy in treating antipsychotic illnesses with a side effect
profile that can affect every system of the body and range from the annoying—photosensitivity and
jaundice, for example—to the disabling—seizures and blindness, among others—to the potentially
fatal—agranulocytosis and neuroleptic malignant syndrome. The side effects of conventional antipsychotics
are associated with effects at CNS transmission and receptor sites and appear in relation to
dose levels and potency of the drug. Characteristics of patients—including gender, age, and comorbid
medical illness—can make them more or less susceptible to particular antipsychotic side effects. Side
effects influence patient quality of life and affect patient compliance with medications. This article
will consider the physiologic systems affected by conventional neuroleptics, the sexual and reproductive
side effects of typical antipsychotics, and the central nervous side effects of the conventional
neuroleptics in the light of these concerns.