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Living a Full Life with Schizophrenia

10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Schizophrenia Medication

10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Schizophrenia Medication

Being prescribed a schizophrenia medication for the first time can be overwhelming. You may not know what kinds of things to tell your doctor or what questions to ask. Many people may see their doctor as an authority figure and are reluctant to ask questions. This is especially common for people from certain cultures, where asking a doctor questions would be seen as challenging his knowledge and insinuating that the doctor may not know as much as he or she claims to know.

But everyone has a right to know what they are being asked to put into their bodies. You also have the right to make the final decision about whether or not you want to take the medication. This article can help you become informed about your medication so that you can take an active role in your treatment. 


What Kinds of Schizophrenia Medications Are There?

What Kinds of Schizophrenia Medications Are There

The most commonly prescribed type of schizophrenia medications are antipsychotics. These are prescribed to treat hallucinations and delusions, which are the main symptoms of schizophrenia. There are two categories of antipsychotic schizophrenia medications available today.


Typical Antipsychotics

Schizophrenia Medications

"Typical" antipsychotics were first used in the 1950s. They are also known as "first generation antipsychotics." They are effective in treating severe cases of schizophrenia. However, their possible side effects are more common and more serious than those seen in newer schizophrenia medications. For this reason, typical antipsychotics are often used as a last result, when atypical medication treatment has been unsuccessful. Haldol and Thorazine are the most well known typical antipsychotics.


Atypical Antipsychotics

Schizophrenia Medications

"Atypical" antipsychotics were first approved for use in the 1990's. They are less likely to cause serious side effects. Atypical antipsychotic medications include Clozapine, asenapine, olanzapine, quetiapine, paliperidone, risperidone, sertindole, ziprasidone, zotepine, and aripiprazole.


Other Medications

Schizophrenia Medications

While antipsychotics are the main schizophrenia medications, antidepressants can also be prescribed to treat the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. "Negative" symptoms refers to the things that many people with schizophrenia do not show, but that people without schizophrenia would show.

For example, lacking thought content, being unable to feel pleasure or happiness, or lack of motivation to complete everyday tasks, are negative symptoms. In addition, people with schizophrenia often also experience depression. Anti-anxiety medications may also be prescribed to people with schizophrenia who experience anxiety and agitation.


Why Ask Questions about Any Prescribed Medication?

Schizophrenia Medications

One reason is that people who ask questions about their medications and are actively involved in their treatment have better outcomes. Asking questions can help people understand their schizophrenia medications and accept their need to take them. In addition, people who ask questions will get valuable information about using their medications correctly.


10 Questions You Should Ask 

1. What Are the Benefits of Taking This Schizophrenia Medication? 

2. What Are the Risks of Taking This Schizophrenia Medication?

3. How Much Does This Medication Cost?

4. How Should I Take This Schizophrenia Medication?

5. Will This Medication Have Any Troublesome Interactions with Alcohol, Certain Foods, My Other Medications, or over the Counter Medications?

6. Is This Schizophrenia Safe to Take While I Am Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

7. How Long Will This Medication Take to Start Working?

8. What Should I Do If I Miss a Dose?

9. When Should I Come In for Follow-Up Visits? 

10. How Long Will I Need to Take This Medication?



Every patient has the right to ask the doctor as many questions as they want about their schizophrenia medication. This list can give you a good place to start. You might want to consider bringing a notebook to write down the answers to the questions or bringing a supportive person along with you to help you remember what you learn. 

After you've started taking your medication, you might want to have a place in your house where you can write down any questions that come up, so that you can remember to ask them at your next appointment. Remember that asking questions helps you to be an active participant in your treatment, and that will increase the chances of a positive outcome for you. 

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