7 Strategies for Managing Schizophrenia Drug Side Effects

Patient Expert
View as:|
1 of 7

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.