Medication Monday: Asenapine

I hope everyone had a safe and relaxing weekend, full of wonderful self-care Saturdays and self-care Sundays. However, it is once again Monday and once again time for Medication Monday, the weekly series that examine some of the mental health medications that are currently available. As I constantly am reminding my readers, it is not meant as a substitute for medical advice, but rather as a brief, informative introduction to some of the mental health medications currently available. This week we are talking about the anti-psychotic medication asenapine, which also goes by the brand name Saphris.

Asenapine is an anti-psychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia. It is a second-generation anti-psychotic, also known as an atypical anti-psychotic. Asenapine acts on dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain to reestablish a health balance.

Asenapine also has FDA approval to treat acute cases of mania in bipolar I patients, as well as maintenance of bipolar I.

Like many mental health medications, it will likely take several weeks to take effect. During this time, it is very important to let you doctor know about any side effects and changes you experience. Possible side effects include cholesterol abnormalities, drowsiness, extrapyramidal symptoms, fatigue, headaches, increased glucose, insomnia, restlessness, temporary numbness of the mouth and tongue, and weight gain. Rarer and more serious side effects include impacts on the hormone prolactin, which could have sexual side effects. Extended use of anti-psychotics also increases the risk of tardive dyskinesia, which results in uncontrolled slow or jerky movements, typically starting in the mouth.

As I said earlier, Medication Monday is not meant as a substitute for medical advice. If your physician or psychopharmacologist prescribed this medication for you, it is because they believe it will help and that the benefits will outweigh the side effects. That said, if you have any concerns about possible side effects, you should not hesitate to ask you physician about them. I merely hope this brief introduction has helped you be more prepared for that conversation.

Source: NAMI – Types of Medication – Asenapine (Saphris)

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