Psychotropic medications are a group of drugs that treat a variety of conditions. They can affect a person’s mood, behavior, perception, and thoughts. Types of psychotropic medications include antidepressants, antianxiety medications, and stimulants.
This article explores uses for these medications, types, side effects, and black box warnings. It also discusses potential drug interactions and when to contact a doctor.
Different types of psychotropic medications
Psychotropic medications can help treat various disorders. Some of these include:
There are several types of antidepressants.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
Doctors typically prescribe SSRIs as a first-line treatment for depression, in combination with psychotherapy. They work by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that may have a positive influence on mood, which leaves more serotonin available to transmit messages between nerve cells.
Types of SSRIs
- escitalopram (Lexapro)
- citalopram (Celexa)
- fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem)
- paroxetine (Paxil)
- sertraline (Zoloft)
- fluvoxamine (Luvox)
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
Types of SNRIs include:
Tricyclic antidepressants are an
- amitriptyline (Elavil)
- clomipramine (Anafranil)
- doxepin (Sinequan)
- nortriptyline (Pamelor)
- imipramine (Tofranil)
- amoxapine (Asendin)
Typical antipsychotics are an older class of antipsychotic medication. They work by acting on the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. Examples include:
- trifluoperazine (Stelazine)
- haloperidol (Haldol)
- loxapine (Adasuve)
- thiothixene (Navane)
- molindone (Moban)
Atypical antipsychotics act on both dopamine and serotonin receptors. Examples include:
- clozapine (Clozaril)
- risperidone (Risperdal)
- olanzapine (Zyprexa)
- iloperidone (Fanapt, Zomaril)
- paliperidone (Invega)
Psychotropic drugs have various potential side effects.
Some side effects of SSRIs may include:
- nausea and vomiting
- anxiety and agitation
- blurred vision
- low sex drive
- orgasmic dysfunction
- erectile dysfunction
Some adverse effects of SNRIs
Some side effects of tricyclic antidepressants
Some adverse effects of benzodiazepines
Some side effects of typical antipsychotics may include:
Some adverse effects of atypical antipsychotics may include:
- elevated risk of stroke
Some side effects of stimulants may include:
- irregular heartbeat
- elevated blood pressure
- increased heart rate
Black box warnings, or boxed warnings, are the
Some psychotropic medications with boxed warnings include:
- Antidepressants: These
may increasethe risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and adolescents.
- Benzodiazepines: If a person takes these with opioid medications or other central nervous system depressants, they can
increase their riskof an overdose.
- Stimulants: These may cause dependence, which can lead to addiction.
- Antipsychotics: These may increase the risk of death in older people with dementia-related psychosis.
If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
- Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
- Listen to the person without judgment.
- Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
- Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
- Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.
People should only take medication as a healthcare professional directs. They also need to discuss any other medications or supplements they are taking with their doctor.
Some psychotropic medications, such as benzodiazepines,
A person should contact a doctor or seek emergency medical attention if they experience
Psychotropic medication refers to a group of drugs that doctors may prescribe to treat a variety of conditions.
These medication types include antidepressants, antianxiety medications, antipsychotics, and stimulants. They work by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain.
There are side effects and potential risks relating to psychotropic medications, which is why many of these medications carry a boxed warning. A person should speak with their doctor about potential adverse effects and drug interactions before taking psychotropic medications.