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Journal of Psychiatric Practice:
Review Articles

Which Side Effects Really Matter? Screening for Common and Distressing Side Effects of Antipsychotic Medications


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As a class, the newer antipsychotics are less likely to cause EPS but continue to have a range of other, non-EPS, side effects. Most standardized scales for side effects of antipsychotics emphasize the physical findings of the motor abnormalities of extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS). There is a need for screening instruments that include both EPS and non-EPS side effects. This article discusses the development of a screening instrument called the Approaches to Schizophrenia Communication (ASC). Initially derived from other subjective screening measures, the ASC was specifically designed to address the following issues pertaining to side effect evaluation of antipsychotics: 1) to cover all common and distressing side effects from antipsychotics, not just EPS, and 2) to screen for perceived distress, rather than the objective severity of the side effect. These two characteristics of the ASC make it possible for it to be given directly to the patient (the ASC Self-Report Version) or to be administered by mental health clinicians who do not have to be extensively trained in side-effect assessments (the ASC Clinician Interview version).

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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