Antipsychotics can be life-changing, but they can also put patients at risk
People who have a diagnosis of schizophrenia can suffer extremely disabling and distressing symptoms, such as tormenting voices and paranoid thoughts. But with the right treatment, most people can live complete and fulfilling lives – thanks mainly to their antipsychotic medication.
But of course, all medications have side-effects and for some people on antipsychotics these side-effects can range from mildly debilitating to life threatening.
One such drug, clozapine – often reserved for difficult to treat cases of schizophrenia – can lower people’s white blood count to dangerous levels and can also lead to fatal constipation. Other antipsychotics can cause weight gain, type 2 diabetes and raised cholesterol.
Clozapine and caution
Clozapine was previously withdrawn from use after several patients treated with the drug died with very low white blood counts. But it was bought back into use in the 1990s after a