Since schizophrenia may not be a single condition and its causes are not yet known, current treatment methods are based on both clinical research and experience. These approaches are chosen on the basis of their ability to reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia and to lessen the chances that symptoms will return.
- Antipsychotic medicines help to control schizophrenia. There are two main classes of medicines: the older antipsychotic medicines, which until recently were standard treatment, and the newer "atypical" antipsychotics.
- The older medicines include chlorpromazine (Largactil), flupenthixol (Depixol), fluphenazine (Moditen) and pimozide (Orap). Side-effects commonly caused by this type of medication include muscle stiffness, tremor and restlessness. Certain side-effects from some antipsychotic drugs may be irreversible, even when medication is stopped. Some people with schizophrenia have weekly or two-weekly injections of their medication (depot injection), so that they do not need to remember to take daily tablets.
- Newer types of medication have been developed which do not have the same side-effects as conventional treatment, making them more acceptable to people taking them long term. These are known as "atypical antipsychotics" and include clozapine (Clozaril), olanzapine (Zyprexa) , risperidone (Risperdal), quetiapine (Seroquel) and amisulpride (Solian). Current evidence is that they are as effective as the older treatments but may cause troublesome weight-gain.