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Introduction. What Makes an Antipsychotic Atypical?

Stephen M. Stahl, MD, PhD

Published: October 1, 1999

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The term atypical antipsychotic has caused a good deal of debate and confusion, because its meaning has evolved over time, and those with different perspectives on this issue tend to define this term differently.1 To a pharmacologist, it can mean "serotonin-2A (5-HT2A)-dopamine-2 (D2) antagonist" or "multiple simultaneous neurotransmitter binding activities." To a prescriber, it can mean "low extrapyramidal symptoms" or "reduction of negative symptoms."’ ‹

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