Drugs Prescribed for Bipolar Disorder: Geodon (Ziprasidone)

Patient Expert

Geodon - generic name ziprasidone - is an antipsychotic medication. It's approved to treat bipolar I disorder and schizophrenia, but is also prescribed for other psychotic conditions such as schizoaffective disorder and to people with bipolar II.

The most serious warnings about Geodon are:

  • it increases the risk of death in the elderly and should not be taken by elderly patients with dementia related psychosis; and

  • it may "increase the risk of changes to your heart rhythm." The prescribing information says, "You should not take Geodon [or ziprasidone] if you have certain kinds of heart conditions that change your heart rhythm, a recent heart attack, heart failure, or take certain medicines known to change heart rhythm. It is important to talk to your doctor about this possible side effect. Call your doctor right away if you faint, pass out, or feel a change in your heartbeat."

Like other antipsychotics, patients should be monitored for symptoms of tardive dyskinesia, akathisia and high blood sugar.

The manufacturer's recommended dosages start at 20mg twice a day for schizophrenia and 40mg twice a day for acute manic or mixed episodes of bipolar I. The maximum recommended dose is 80mg twice a day.

Ziprasidone should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the patient. Breast-feeding is not recommended. Geodon is not approved for pediatric use.

Capsules should not be opened and should be taken with food.

Common side effects include fatigue, sleepiness, nausea, constipation, dizziness, restlessness, abnormal muscle movements, diarrhea, cough/runny nose, and rash (discontinue immediately if there is no other reason for the rash).

Disclaimer: This is not intended to be all-inclusive or to replace information provided by your doctor or with the prescription from the manufacturer.

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