Antipsychotics: prescription drugs that are used to reduce “psychotic” symptoms; frequently used in the treatment of “schizophrenia.” (Hockenbury, 577)

A type of drug used to treat symptoms of “psychosis.” These include “hallucinations” (sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or touches that a person believes to be real but are not real), “delusions” (false beliefs), and “dementia” (loss of the ability to think, remember, learn, make decisions, and solve problems). Most antipsychotic agents block the action of certain chemicals in the “nervous system.” (NCIt) Agents that control agitated psychotic behavior, alleviate acute psychotic states, reduce psychotic symptoms, and exert a quieting effect. They are used in schizophrenia; senile dementia; transient psychosis following surgery; etc. These drugs are often referred to as ‘neuroleptics’ alluding to the tendency to produce neurological side effects, but not all antipsychotics are likely to produce such effects. (MeSH) Also referred to as ‘neuroleptic medications’ and ‘neuroleptics.’


First Generation Antipsychotics: first antipsychotic drugs, date back 2,000 years ago to the 'snakeroot plant.' Include ‘reserpine’ and ‘chlorpromazine’ (trade name Thorazine). They reduce levels of “dopamine.” Reduced the “positive symptoms” of schizophrenia. With the introduction of antipsychotic medications, the number of patients in mental hospitals decreased dramatically. (Hockenbury, 577)

Second Generation Antipsychotics: drugs (that) affect brain levels of dopamine and “seratonin." (Initial 2nd generation) antipsychotics were ‘clozapine’ and ‘risperidone.’ More recent are ‘olanzapine,’  ‘sertindole,’  and ‘quiteapine.’ They do not block dopamine “receptors” in the movement areas of the brain. Instead, they more selectively target dopamine receptors in brain areas associated with psychotic symptoms. More effective (than 1st generation) in treating the “negative symptoms” of schizophrenia - apathy, social withdrawal, and flat emotions. (Hockenbury, 577) Editor's note - first approved by the "FDA" in 1989. Also referred to as ‘atypical antipsychotics.’

Third Generation Antipsychotics: in 2002 the FDA approved ‘aripiprazole’ (trade name Abilify). Used to treat nervous, emotional, and mental conditions (e.g., schizophrenia). It may be used alone or together with other medicines. (PubMed Health1) Rather than merely blocking dopamine receptors, aripiprazole appears to stabilize the availability of dopamine. Depending on the level of dopamine present in the “synapse,” the drug either increases or decreases the amount of dopamine available. Clinical trials showed that arpiprazole was as effective as other antipsychotic medications but had fewer side effects. Also seems to be effective in the treatment of “manic episodes” associated with “bipolar disorder.” (Hockenbury, 578) Also referred to as 'Abilify.'