Side effects of antipsychotics in the elderly

J Clin Psychiatry. 2000;61 Suppl 8:43-9; discussion 50-1.


Side effects of antipsychotic medications are particularly problematic in elderly patients, who experience many age-related changes that may exacerbate medication side effects. Side effects of particular concern in the elderly include anticholinergic reactions, parkinsonian events, tardive dyskinesia, orthostatic hypotension, cardiac conduction disturbances, reduced bone mineral density, sedation, and cognitive slowing. In addition, elderly patients with schizophrenia often have comorbid medical illnesses-such as cardiovascular disease and dementia of the Alzheimer's type-and are thus likely to be taking multiple medications. The effects of polypharmacy must be carefully considered. Patients, caregivers, and family often have different perspectives on side effects. This article addresses the side effects of the currently available antipsychotic medications in light of these concerns.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Basal Ganglia Diseases / chemically induced
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Clozapine / adverse effects
  • Clozapine / therapeutic use
  • Comorbidity
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Dibenzothiazepines / adverse effects
  • Dibenzothiazepines / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Movement Disorders / etiology
  • Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome / etiology
  • Psychotic Disorders / drug therapy
  • Psychotic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Quetiapine Fumarate
  • Risperidone / adverse effects
  • Risperidone / therapeutic use
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Dibenzothiazepines
  • Quetiapine Fumarate
  • Clozapine
  • Risperidone