Explains what antipsychotics are used for, how the medication works, possible side effects and information about withdrawal.
Your dosage means how much of your antipsychotic medication you should take (your dose), and how often you should take it.
Finding the best dosage for you will depend on a lot of factors. These include:
You and your doctor or psychiatrist can work together to see whether your antipsychotic helps you and how well it suits you. They should be able to tell you how the drug may help you, and when you are likely to feel the drug’s effects. The aim should be to find a dosage where the benefits outweigh any negative side effects.
Remember: you have a right to know what dosage you have been prescribed, and why.
The higher your dose, the more likely you are to experience problems with side effects. For example, certain antipsychotics may cause side effects which affect your ability to:
Moderate to high doses of antipsychotics may also increase the risk of tardive dyskinesia. This is a serious side effect which causes movements in your face or body that you can’t control.
The British National Formulary (BNF) recommends maximum doses for many medications licensed in the UK, including antipsychotics. You can search the BNF’s A to Z list of drugs to find information about any medication you’ve been prescribed, including details of recommended doses.
In most cases, antipsychotics aren’t licensed for use above the maximum recommended dose published by the BNF. But there are some situations where you may end up with a total daily dose above the recommended maximum. These include:
You have a right to know how much medication you’re taking in total, including PRN doses. If you aren’t confident about working this out, your doctor, psychiatrist or pharmacist should be able to explain it to you.
Your pharmacist may also have a specific chart published by the Prescribing Observatory for Mental Health UK (POMH-UK) to work out antipsychotic dosages. They can use this as a guide to help you work out your overall dosage more easily.
If you are prescribed more than the recommended daily limit, your doctor or psychiatrist has a duty to review this every day. But you can always speak to your doctor or psychiatrist if you feel your daily dose is too high. You can ask them to review your dosage at any time, even if it is within the recommended range.
This information was published in September 2020. We will revise it in 2023.
References and bibliography available on request.
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