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Psych drugs from First Aid for the Psychiatry Clerkship

Widened QRS

This is a sign of TCA toxicity

High potency antipsychotics

Haloperidol, Fluphenazine


Intermediate acting benzodiazepine, brand name Ativan


This class of antipsychotics block dopamine receptors


This class of antipsychotics block dopamine and serotonin receptors

Low potency antipsychotics

Chlorpromazine, Thioridazine

Low potency

This class of antipsychotic has a higher incidence of anticholinergic and antihistaminic side effects, but less EPS and NMS


This class of antipsychotic has been shown to be more effective in treating the negative symptoms of schizophrenia

Parkinsonism, akathisia, dystonia

EPS from traditional antipsychotics

Fever, autonomic instability, leukocytosis, tremor, elevated CPK, lead pipe Rigidity

FALTER, the symptoms of NMS


This antipsychotic can cause hyperlipidemia, glucose intolerance, weight gain, and hepatotoxicity


This antipsychotic causes less weight gain, but has been shown to cause cataracts in dogs


This class of antipsychotic has the lowest incidence of Parkinsonian side effects


This class of drugs must be used carefully because they can be lethal in overdose

IV sodium bicarbonate

This is given to treat TCA overdose

Convulsions, coma, cardiotoxicity

The 3 Cs of complications from TCA treatment

Antidopaminergic, Anti-HAM, weight gain, elevated liver enzymes, ophthalmologic problems, rash, seizures, TD, NMS

Side effects of the traditional antipsychotics


This TCA is the least likely to cause orthostatic hypotension


This TCA is the least sedating and has the least anti-cholinergic side effects of the TCAs


This TCA is the most serotonin specific, and is useful in treating OCD


This SSRI has the longest half-life, and does not need to be tapered


This SSRI has the highest risk for GI disturbance


This SSRI is the most serotonin specific and most activating


This SSRI is currently only approved for OCD


This SSRI was used in Europe for 12 years before being approved in the US


Similar to citalopram, but fewer side effects and much more expensive

Anorexia, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, GI disturbance, headache

SSRIs cause these side effects


This SNRI is used for refractory depression, and should be avoided in patients with untreated hypertension


This NDRI is used for ADHD, has a lack of sexual side effects, and should not be used in patients with anxiety or epilepsy


This SARI is used for refractory depression and insomnia, and side effects include nausea, dizziness, orthostatic hypotension, sedation, and priapism


This NASA is used for refractory major depression and causes weight gain


This mood stabilizer has side effects including hypothyroidism, tremor, sedation, weight gain, and others


Anticonvulsant also used as a mood stabilizer, useful for mixed episodes and rapid-cycling bipolar disorder


Side effects of this mood stabilizer include leukopenia, hyponatremia, aplastic anemia, and agranulocytosis

Valproic acid

Side effects of this mood stabilizer include hepatotoxicity, pancreatitis, thrombocytopenia, and weight gain


This anxiolytic can be used for GAD as an alternative to benzos or venlafaxine


This anxiolytic is a partial agonist at the 5HT-1A receptor

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