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Difference Between Typical and Atypical Psychotic drugs

Typical vs atypical psychotic drugs

The knowledge of psychological diseases as well as the drugs used to treat psychoses should be mastered by physicians treating them, as people on medications start having adverse effects which are equally harmful as the disease itself.

Typical psychotic drugs are called as first generation antipsychotics whereas atypical psychotic drugs are called as second generation antipsychotics. Both these classes of drugs are used for treating psychotic illnesses. The truth is that the side effects of atypical psychotic drugs are far lesser than typical psychotic drugs and hence, the atypical ones are being prescribed more frequently nowadays. The mechanism of action of both the drugs is similar i.e. they help control psychotic symptoms by blocking the molecules in the dopamine pathways of the brain. The second generation drugs are more effective than the first generation drugs. The speed at which the medicine acts in an individual is also greater in second generation drugs than first generation drugs. Once a patient is started on antipsychotic drugs, the addiction to first generation antipsychotics is far more than second generation drugs. So people on typical antipsychotics will rarely give up on medication once started, which is why doctors are now only prescribing atypical antipsychotic drugs. A lot of people suffer from withdrawal symptoms once they try to stop typical antipsychotics, so much is the dependency. It is like choosing between the devil and the deep sea. Atypical antipsychotics are faster acting and give relief quickly but because of its superficial course of treatment, one is likely to become psychotic again after some interval of stopping the drug. Both the drugs have their own set of downside and advantages as well.

On one hand, the first generation, typical antipsychotic drugs are mostly used to treat anxiety, agitation, acute mania and many other diseases while the second generation antipsychotic drugs are used to treat schizophrenia, depression, bipolar diseases, obsessive compulsive disorder and mania. The adverse effects of typical antipsychotic drugs are seen as an extra pyramidal motor control illness which includes tremors, rigidity and the other set of side effects is the neuroleptic syndrome. The atypical antipsychotic drugs are generally known for their tranquilizing effect. The most adverse side effect of atypical antipsychotic drugs is the increase in the levels of prolactin hormone which is not seen in typical antipsychotic drugs. The increase in levels of prolactin gives rise to development and enlargement of breasts with fluid oozing out from nipples in both males and females. Significant weight gain, drying of mouth and dementia is common to both the types of drugs. Despite these, it is seen that overall atypical antipsychotic drugs are safer for prescription than typical antipsychotic drugs.

The typical antipsychotic drugs are divided into three groups of low, medium and high potency. Typical antipsychotic drugs are extremely habit forming drugs and the residual effects of involuntary tremors and body rigidity are irreversible. Once they set in, they cannot be reduced with any other medications making them more dangerous.

Summary: Physicians now prescribe more of second generation, atypical antipsychotic drugs than the typical, first generation drugs with comparatively fewer side effects. Hence, it is a widely known today that atypical antipsychotic drugs are more beneficial than typical antipsychotic drugs.


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