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Spotlight on Schizoaffective Disorder Medications

written by: Alicia Miller • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 4/12/2011

There are numerous types of schizoaffective disorder medications. In this article, you'll learn about some of the most common types, as well as the symptoms they help to control.

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    Schizoaffective Disorder Medications

    Schizoaffective disorder is a relatively rare mental health condition classified as a "schizophrenic" spectrum disorder, meaning that it shares many of the symptoms of schizophrenia and other disorders in this category. The symptoms of schizoaffective disorder are a combination of mood disorder symptoms and psychoses.

    Various schizoaffective disorder medications are often prescribed to control and manage these different symptoms. The Mayo Clinic points out that the only FDA approved drug for schizoaffective disorder is the antipsychotic medication known as paliperidone, sold as Invega. However, other drugs have also been found to be helpful in the treatment of this disorder.

    Medications that are used to control schizoaffective disorder symptoms generally include antipsychotics, mood-stabilizers and anti-depressants. In certain cases, anti-convulsants and anti-anxiety drugs may also be recommended. Many of these drugs have undesirable side effects. Patients must be closely monitored during treatment, as medication alone is not sufficient to control all of the symptoms.

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    Antipsychotic Drugs

    Antipsychotics are drugs prescribed to patients suffering from psychotic symptoms that include hallucinations (i.e. seeing things that aren't there), delusions (i.e. believing something that is bizarre or untrue despite evidence to the contrary), and paranoia (i.e. such as the belief that people are "out to get you").

    Some of the more commonly prescribed antipsychotic drugs for schizoaffective disorder include clozapine, sold under the brand name Clozaril, risperidone, sold under the brand name Risperdal, and olanzapine, sold as Zyprexa. These drugs are prescribed to control psychoses and work to calm agitation.

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    Mood-Stabilizers

    Mood-stabilizers are commonly prescribed schizoaffective disorder medications for the bipolar subtype. These medications work to control mood swings, depressive or manic episodes and help to even out the ups and downs of emotion and behavior commonly present in bipolar-type schizoaffective disorder. These drugs are often prescribed in combination with antipsychotics. Examples of mood-stabilizing drugs that are beneficial for schizoaffective disorder include lithium, sold as Eskalith or Lithobid, and divalproex, sold as Depakote.

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    Anti-Convulsants

    Anti-convulsants are drugs which are prescribed to patients who do not respond to other types of mood-stabilizers. These drugs include carbamazepine, sold as Carbatrol, clonazepam, sold as Klonopin, or valproate, sold as Depacon.

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    Anti-Depressants

    People with schizoaffective disorder often suffer from an underlying depressive disorder. Anti-depressants are typically prescribed to relieve feelings of depression such as sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, problems with sleep and appetite and other symptoms of depression. Anti-depressants such as citalopram, or Celexa, and fluoxetine, sold as Prozac, may be helpful.

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    Anti-Anxiety Drugs

    Schizoaffective disorder patients sometimes suffer from intense episodes of anxiety and agitation. In these cases, anti-anxiety drugs, such as lorazepam, sold as Ativan, among others, can help alleviate feelings of anxiety and panic and induce feelings of calmness.

    NB: The content of this article is for information purposes and is not intended to replace sound medical advice and opinion.