Antipsychotic Drugs and Interactions: Implications for Criminal and Civil Litigation

  • Michael WelnerEmail author
  • Lewis Opler


Antipsychotics can be classified into two general types: traditional antipsychotics (also referred to as first-generation antipsychotics or FGAs and as standard neuroleptics) and atypical antipsychotics (also referred to as second-generation antipsychotics or SGAs).

Both traditional and atypical antipsychotics treat positive psychosis symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions by blocking dopamine neurotransmitter receptors [1]. The traditional antipsychotics, however, all cause extrapyramidal motor side effects (EPS), including acute dystonias, drug-induced parkinsonism, and akathisia [1].

Clozapine, the first atypical antipsychotic, was synthesized by scientists attempting to develop a new tricyclic antidepressant. Instead, clozapine turned out to treat positive psychosis symptoms, but, without causing EPS, leading to its being referred to as an atypical antipsychotic.


Traditional antipsychotics Atypical antipsychotics Second-generation antipsychotics First-generation antipsychotics 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Forensic PanelNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.New York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.The Forensic PanelNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.College of Physicians & SurgeonsColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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