Chapter 4
Page 20

Possible Adverse Reactions of Atypical Antipsychotics

  • Tardive dyskinesia (permanent involuntary movements of tongue, mouth, face, trunk, arms and legs that are more common with typical antipsychotics than with atypical)
  • Overheating or heatstroke (prevent by drinking water and staying out of heat)
  • Metabolic Syndrome (excess weight gain, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar and triglyceride levels)
  • Type II Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (extreme muscle stiffness, high fever, sweating, tremors, confusion, unstable blood pressure and heart rate). This is a medical emergency.


  • Can cause a dangerous drop in white blood cells
  • Requires weekly blood work for 6 months, every 2 weeks for the next 6 months and then every 4 weeks thereafter
  • Usually used only when other treatments fail