Question: What are the differences between traditional antipsychotics and the newer atypical antipsychotics?
Answer: The best way to understand, I think, the traditional antipsychotics and newer antipsychotics is in terms of their side effect profiles. Without going into detail, the more traditional antipsychotics have been associated with tardive dyskinesia, a movement disorder, and with stiffness, as in Parkinsonian symptoms. The atypical antipsychotics were largely free of those kinds of problems, but have their own set of problems related to metabolic difficulties, weight gain, blood sugar problems.
One of the challenges is that some of the old antipsychotics cause those troubles as well. I think the message we have now is that if you need to take antipsychotics, there are going to be problems, potentially regardless of whether you choose the traditional ones or the atypicals. And it will be necessary to balance that against your response to these medications, and your toleration for the side effects they inevitably have.
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