National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Second Generation Antipsychotic Medication (SGAs)
Important Side Effects
Second Generation Antipsychotic Medications (SGAs) are a group of medications used to treat some psychiatric conditions. Some SGAs are FDA-approved for use in the treatment of schizophrenia, acute mania, bipolar disorder and bipolar mania and other mental illness conditions.
SGAs are also referred to as atypical antipsychotics. The term "atypical" refers to the fact that they generally do not cause the same degree of movement side effects that are common to the first generation, or so-called " typical" antipsychotics.
SGAs are not all equal in terms of their risk of heart-related side effects. People living with mental illness should evaluate these side effects when choosing a medication in partnership with their health care provider.
Examples of first generation antipsychotic medications include:
Note: Brand patents have expired, but these medicines are referred to by both names at times.
First generation antipsychotic medications generally have higher rates of movement disorders (both short- and long-term) and relatively fewer risks of weight gain and diabetes than most of the SGAs.