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What Is Iloperidone?

Melanie Smeltzer
Melanie Smeltzer

Iloperidone is an atypical antipsychotic medication used to treat those suffering from schizophrenia. This drug is a dual-acting antagonist that inhibits certain neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline receptors. Despite the fact that this medication is thought to be effective in treating acute symptoms, many doctors will try an alternative drug first, as iloperidone can potentially change the rhythm of the heart in some patients.

Although it is not entirely certain how this drug works, many feel that, like other antipsychotic medications, iloperidone may help to alleviate symptoms by blocking dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline receptors. As a second generation, or atypical, antipsychotic, this drug is known to block several receptors, whereas many first-generation types generally focus on dopamine receptors. This is thought to make this drug, and others like it, more effective. First-generation antipsychotics are also thought to cause extrapyramidal motor control disabilities, while second-generation drugs are said to have a lower incidence of this problem.

Iloperidone blocks some neurotransmitters.
Iloperidone blocks some neurotransmitters.

Even though there may be a lower incidence of certain conditions, iloperidone may cause other adverse reactions. Some of the most common side effects of this drug are feelings of lightheadedness and dizziness, weight gain and nausea, and involuntary movements or tremors. Certain side effects may occur due to drug interactions. Those taking this medication are advised to avoid some antifungal or antidepressant treatments, sleeping pills, or other antipsychotics.

There are also possible complications for those being treated with a number of secondary conditions. For instance, this drug has been shown to potentially cause an increase in blood sugar levels, which may result in life-threatening complications for those with diabetes. In addition, this drug is not recommended for elderly patients with dementia, pregnant or nursing mothers, those with heart-related conditions, liver or kidney disease, or those who have experienced a stroke or cancer.

To help control the possible side effects of taking iloperidone, many doctors will design a prescription specific to the patient. This prescription often starts with the smallest possible dosage, and will gradually increase until the patient is satisfied with the results. As this drug is thought to cause a potentially life-threatening complication known as a torsade de pointes — an unusual arrhythmia, which causes an increased heartbeat that begins in the ventricles and can result in sudden death — it is usually not given for more than six weeks.

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    • Iloperidone blocks some neurotransmitters.
      Iloperidone blocks some neurotransmitters.