What Is Ziprasidone?
Ziprasidone is an effective medication used to treat schizophrenia and other mental disorders. It is a second-generation antipsychotic, also known as an atypical antipsychotic. Ziprasidone works by rebalancing the dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain to improve thinking, mood, and behavior.
Drug Class and Schedule
Ziprasidone (also marketed as Geodon) is a prescription-only drug pharmaceutically classified as an atypical antipsychotic medication.1 Ziprasidone and its salts are also classified as Schedule 1 drugs.2 This classification indicates that it is a potential drug of abuse. As such, it can only be purchased with a doctor’s prescription.3
Is it a Controlled Substance?
Ziprasidone is not a controlled substance; however, its classification as a Schedule 1 drug means its distribution is restricted. In other words, it is not available as an over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Thus, if someone wants to buy it, they will have to present a prescription from their doctor.4
What Does Ziprasidone Treat?
Ziprasidone is commonly used to treat the symptoms of psychotic (mental) illnesses, such as schizophrenia, mania, and bipolar disorder.5
Nevertheless, note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not authorized this drug to treat behavioral issues in dementia patients, so it should not be used for this purpose.
Ziprasidone Side Effects
Geodon use has been associated with both short-term and long-term effects. While some of these reactions are mild, others may be more severe. Usually, these effects occur due to the body adjusting to the medication. This means that as treatment progresses, these adverse effects mostly taper off; however, there is the possibility that some could become permanent.9
In addition, ziprasidone may interact with other medications (e.g., antipsychotics), causing adverse effects.
Short-Term Ziprasidone Side Effects
Common short-term ziprasidone side effects (experienced by > 10% of users) include:
- Stomach upsets
Other less common Geodon side effects (experienced by < 10% of users) include:
- Cough and Cold
- Runny nose
- Dry mouth
- Weight gain (and associated complications)
- Abnormal muscle movements
- Slow or rapid heart rate
- Change in heart rhythm
- Skin rash (If experienced, the individual should stop the medication and reach out to their doctor immediately)
Most of these effects can be well managed by including another medication in the prescription.9 Note that this should not be considered a complete list of all possible ziprasidone side effects as others not mentioned in this list may occur. If other adverse effects occur, reach out to a doctor.
Long-Term Ziprasidone Side Effects
Long-term usage of Geodon is linked to a slight chance of developing tardive dyskinesia (TD). People with TD experience uncontrolled muscular movements. The face, mouth, and tongue are the most commonly affected areas; however, TD can affect any region of the body. These movements might be slight or noticeable. Stopping the medicine can occasionally reverse TD, but it can sometimes be permanent.9 Other possible long-term Geodon side effects include changes in heart rhythms and increased blood sugar.10
Is it Possible to Overdose on Ziprasidone?
Ziprasidone overdose effects may include the following:
- Uncontrollable shaking of a body part
- Slurred speech
- Abrupt, uncontrollable motions
It is crucial to get immediate medical help in ziprasidone overdose situations because the effects could cause the individual to collapse, experience seizures, have trouble breathing, or even become unconscious.
Ziprasidone Dosage, Usage, and Withdrawal
Before using ziprasidone, it is important to consult with a medical professional to develop a treatment plan and carefully monitor symptoms. While ziprasidone is commonly used for treating schizophrenia, it has also been found effective in treating bipolar disorder. Along with many other substances, there is a risk for overdose and withdrawal symptoms when using this medication.
Ziprasidone for Schizophrenia
The FDA has approved ziprasidone to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia, including hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, lack of motivation, and trouble speaking clearly. To treat schizophrenia, Ziprasidone requires long-term treatment, but it can have positive effects.
Can Ziprasidone Cause Withdrawal Symptoms?
Withdrawal symptoms could include:
- Mood swings
- Panic attacks
- Heart palpitations
These symptoms have also been particularly more severe when ziprasidone dosage is halted abruptly. Therefore, this medication should never be discontinued suddenly, unless there is a medical justification for doing so.13
The intensity of symptoms observed after ziprasidone withdrawal can also be affected by several other factors, including the term of the prescription, the dose, general health of the patient, metabolic rate, and age.13
Can Ziprasidone Cause an Overdose?
It is possible to overdose on ziprasidone. Therefore, if any of the symptoms mentioned in the above section are noticed, it’s important to contact a medical professional immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ziprasidone
It is important to understand and learn about the drug before taking it.
Can I Take Ziprasidone With Other Medications?
Those who are taking ziprasidone are advised to avoid drinking alcohol or using illicit drugs. Doing so may decrease the benefits and increase the likelihood of adverse effects. Ziprasidone interactions may also block the effects of medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease, including levodopa/carbidopa (Sinemet®), bromocriptine, pramipexole (Mirapex®), ropinirole (Requip®). In addition, the use of antipsychotics and antiarrhythmics may increase the risk of heart problems.
Can I Use Geodon While Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
If an individual diagnosed with schizophrenia is taking ziprasidone and is pregnant or is trying to become pregnant, they should contact their medical professional. The use of an antipsychotic during the third trimester of pregnancy may pose a risk for the development of abnormal muscle movements. In addition, newborns may experience withdrawal symptoms following delivery. Further, ziprasidone should not be taken while breastfeeding as it may pass into breast milk and affect the infant.
How Long Will it Take to Feel Geodone’s Effects?
It generally takes a couple of weeks for individuals to start feeling the effects of ziprasidone. Nonetheless, it’s important to document symptoms during the first few weeks while taking the medication. Those starting ziprasidone should track their hallucinations, disorganized thinking, delusions, and any other symptoms. It is common for most symptoms to improve within the first one to two weeks.
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We offer treatment programs for depression, anxiety, trauma, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and more. Clients have the option to attend our primary care program, evening outpatient program, or transitional living. By choosing AMFM, you are choosing to have access to the tools you need to take back your life and create a meaningful future.
With the right help from qualified mental health specialists, everyone has a chance to learn how to cope with their mental illness. Contact our professionals today to start on your path to overcoming your mental illness.