Background | Mechanisms of Action | Indications and Efficacy | Clinical Use | Risks, Side Effects, and Their Management | Use in Pregnancy | Drug Interactions | Atypical Antipsychotics | Long-Acting Injectable Antipsychotics
Antipsychotic medications, previously referred to as major tranquilizers or neuroleptics, are
effective for the treatment of a variety of psychotic symptoms.
Antipsychotics can be classified in several ways. One classification
system is based on chemical structure; for example, phenothiazines and
butyrophenones make up two chemical classes. We use the term conventional to
signify older or first-generation antipsychotic drugs—to
differentiate them from newer atypical or
second-generation antipsychotics. Among the conventional antipsychotics,
we distinguish between high- and low-potency agents because the
level of potency predicts side effects. Although the term atypical
antipsychotic lacks a single consistent definition,
it generally refers to the newer antipsychotic medications that
affect both 5-HT2 and D2 receptors.
Atypical antipsychotics available in the United States include clozapine,
olanzapine, risperidone, quetiapine, ziprasidone, and aripiprazole.