The main drugs used to treat schizophrenia are antipsychotic medications, also known as neuroleptics. The choice of antipsychotic medication depends on the individual patient and their specific symptoms. There are two main types of antipsychotics: typical (or first-generation) antipsychotics and atypical (or second-generation) antipsychotics.
Typical antipsychotics, such as chlorpromazine and haloperidol, were the first drugs used to treat schizophrenia. Atypical antipsychotics, such as risperidone, olanzapine, and quetiapine, were developed later and are generally preferred because they have a lower risk of causing movement disorders such as tardive dyskinesia.
Both types of antipsychotics work by blocking dopamine receptors in the brain. This reduces the activity of dopamine, which is thought to be involved in the development of psychotic symptoms. Antipsychotic medications can help reduce hallucinations, delusions, and other symptoms of schizophrenia, but they may also have side effects, such as weight gain, sedation, and movement disorders. It is important for individuals with schizophrenia to work closely with their healthcare provider to find the most effective medication with the fewest side effects.