Antipsychotic Medications

Antipsychotic medications are predominantly prescribed to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia, as well as other diseases that manifest as acute or chronic psychotic episodes. Antipsychotic drugs are classified as typical or first-generation antipsychotics, atypical or second-generation antipsychotics, and third-generation antipsychotics. These different classifications are based on the mechanisms of therapy of the drugs. Although all antipsychotic drugs affect the dopamine system, the receptors targeted differ substantially among the different classes of treatment. Before describing the mechanism of action of each generation of antipsychotic drugs, it is helpful to understand the symptoms of schizophrenia. This entry concludes by discussing the efficacy as well as other uses of antipsychotic medications.


Schizophrenia is a long-term, progressive, and complex disease. Schizophrenia comprises several diverse symptoms that are generally grouped ...

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