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Antipsychotic Medications

Sabella, Donna, PhD, MEd, MSN, CRNP, PMHNP-BC

AJN The American Journal of Nursing: June 2017 - Volume 117 - Issue 6 - p 36–43
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000520229.04987.46
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Antipsychotic medications are primarily used to manage various symptoms of psychosis. In recent years, more adults—and teenagers—are taking at least one type of psychotropic medication, the majority of which are prescribed by primary care and family physicians. Because nurses are now caring for people of varying ages, and with varying diagnoses, who are taking these types of medications, they need to develop a working knowledge of the agents available and know when it's appropriate to prescribe them for mental health disorders as well as for disorders unrelated to mental health. This article is the first in a series on commonly used psychotropic medications.

This first article in a series on commonly used psychotropic medications for the treatment of mental illness reviews the mechanisms of action, adverse effects, and contraindications of first-generation typical and second-generation atypical antipsychotics.

Donna Sabella is a psychiatric mental health NP and the Seedworks Endowed Associate Professor for Nursing and Social Justice, College of Nursing, University of Massachusetts Amherst. She also coordinates Mental Health Matters: dsabella@umass.edu. The author and planners have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

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