7 Strategies for Managing Schizophrenia Drug Side Effects

Christina Bruni | Jul 23rd 2015

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Switch your dose time

I take most of the Geodon in the morning and the lower dose at night.  Thus I’d fall asleep at work during the day three times a week.  After I started taking the higher dose at night and the tiny dose in the morning I was wide awake every day all day and didn’t have any side effects.

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Use an adjunct medication to halt a side effect

Inderal can be used to treat neuroleptic-induced akathisia.  Metformin, a diabetes drug, is thought to help with weight loss.  An anti-depressant can perk up a person with schizophrenia who has co-occurring depression.

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Lose weight the old-fashioned way

A person on Seroquel lost 30 lb. with simple exercises and changing her eating habits.  A woman on Clozaril lost 50 lb. too.  Certain drugs if you have a mild form might not cause weight gain.

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Certain side effects are temporary and you can live through them

My doctor instituted a cross-titer from the Stelazine to the Geodon, that’s when I’d get knocked-out asleep every day at lunchtime.  Taking only the Geodon and at night halted this.

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You can decide to live with a side effect

Before I was a librarian, I had jobs with two hour and two-and-a-half-hour commutes each way.  I was in transit a minimum of 20 hours each week on buses and trains.   Always drowsy in the morning because of it, I lived through this.

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Welcome any positive side effects

On the Stelazine, I could barely get out of bed before 9 a.m.  As soon as I started taking the Geodon, I was awake every morning at 7 a.m. the latest.  I also started to fall asleep earlier and sleep through the night

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Reduce your dosage if clinically appropriate

Talk with your psychiatrist about any side effects before discontinuing your medication on your own.  Often side effects can be managed well. A study of older patients whose dosage was reduced indicated they did well.