Medical short listing of main side effects of neuroleptics

In German Language


This medical article describes particularly clear and vividly the strong side effects of neuroleptics, which were introduced to the world market from 1950 onwards. The report is not influenced by the pharmaceutical industry, furthermore, not only the conservative psychiatry and conventional medicine is rewritten here, this is a modern, medically written and independent article by patients. Neuroleptics have certain positive effects on patients’ psychological well-being, but it is also often the case that the negative effects outweigh the positive ones. Some major side effects of these psychotropic drugs are listed below and are presented in a way that is comprehensible to the reader.

  1. Decrease in cognitive capacity

    Neuroleptics reduce the performance and perception of the brain. To prevent the patient from getting too many impressions of his environment, he is given a drug that blocks the nerve impulse paths in the brain. This destroys some of the thoughts, in addition concentration and perceptions are worse at school or in traffic. Actually these drugs are supposed to reduce delusional imaginations, but they also reduce normal perceptions and intellectual abilities. Here one can actually ask oneself to what extent the patients are really cured by such tranquilization. Studying and more complex learning processes can actually be made impossible by taking neuroleptics, and those affected are then considered "unable to go to school", "unable to work" and "unable to cope with stress". With low doses taken in the evening, but with less effect the next morning, patients are often still reasonably fit. There are indeed cases in which patients work, undertake training or study while taking neuroleptics, but often they do not succeed or only succeed in the second labour market within a "protected" environment.

  2. Tremor

    Through the blocking of nerve paths in the brain, there is a loss of full control over the muscles in the body and its movements. Jerkily, the blocking drugs let pass more or less nerve impulses. This leads to unintentional random twitches; most often in the area of the arms and legs, where many of the muscles are concentrated.

    The trembling irritation of the muscles of the human body caused by neuroleptics can often have consequences:

  3. Symptoms of paralysis

    The active substances of neuroleptics that block dopamine receptors cause a slowdown in the transport of messenger substances in the brain. This reduces the perception of stimuli, which is intended to prevent the patient from perceiving too much. Restlessness, agitation and confusion can be the result of overstimulation. Not only does the brain’s ability to perceive and think suffer from the slowdown of brain processes, but also the muscular apparatus of the body, to which motion impulses can only slowly reach. The blockage of the nerve connections to the muscles caused by the neuroleptics can have these consequences, among others:

    • Stiffness of the leg muscles which leads to a slowed down walking.
    • Slowdown of all movements with the arm.
    • Slower chewing and digestion of food.
    • Faltering breathing which means that less oxygen is supplied to the body per time unit.
    • Movements with the head become more difficult, obstruction of gestures.
    • It is considerably more difficult to carry out normal work that requires one’s own physical strength. In craft enterprises, patients experience a reduced ability to work because they take neuroleptics.
    • Walking distances in the outside world are covered more slowly; various matters can only be done in slow motion or not at all.
    • Writing texts and letters takes longer due to the slower movement of fingers and hands.
    • Some movements of the arms and legs can no longer be carried out at all, especially in certain sports.
    • The eye muscles work more slowly. That is why some patients have great difficulty seeing properly under the effect of neuroleptics. This effect can also be felt in the fact that the pupil can only slowly adjust to changing distances.

  4. Cramps

    Tremor and stiffness are side effects of neuroleptics, which in some cases can last day in and day out. Some patients feel so restricted and limited by these side effects that they no longer enjoy life due to them only. The blockage of the nerve paths between the brain and the muscle apparatus by the neuroleptics sometimes leads to severe cramps. The following symptoms may then occur, for example:

  5. Drooling

    Drooling is a common side effect of neuroleptics. The control of the body’s own fluid balance is blocked by this medication. Dry mouth (Xerostomia) is the other extreme of these side effects. It often takes much longer for the patient to chew and swallow his food. The dry mouth can even lead to breathing problems.

  6. Weight gain

    Because the medication is perceived as poison by the body and has to be laboriously eliminated, other substances accumulate in the body instead. The entire digestion and exchange of fluids inside the body is slowed down, which also leads to bloating and increased weight. Metabolic processes are negatively affected.

  7. Nausea

    The brain processes a lot of information more slowly and differently under the effect of neuroleptics, which can also have a negative effect on the sense of balance. Since the active ingredients of the medication can be perceived as unhealthy and irritating by the body during digestion, nausea can occur in the gastrointestinal tract. As after excessive alcohol consumption, a patient sometimes vomits due to the heavy physical strain of the neuroleptics. Dizziness and nausea usually fluctuate in intensity and occur more severely shortly after taking the tablets and after eating.

  8. Depression and lethargy

    Depression and lethargy are among the most common side effects of neuroleptics. The hope of the patients to "get out safely" is diminished by taking the medication, and the risk of suicide increases. Through stimulus shielding, a subjective emptiness is created, and as a result there can be a lack of ideas for activity and entertainment. Drive, motivation and creativity in work and leisure time can be reduced.

  9. Reduced sexual activity

    Sexual excitability is more or less reduced by the neurolepticts, depending on the type of drug, the dose and the individual patient. The desire for Sex can be noticeable lower than people not taking this kind of medcine. The function of libido in this case is decreased and sexual activities are less fun. Problems with smaller erection and orgasm occur.

  10. Sleeping problems

    Tiredness increased by the psychotropic drugs or difficulties in falling asleep and sleeping through can also have a negative effect on the quality of life. Falling asleep too early after taking the evening medication and waking up too early in the morning is a common phenomenon, and some patients cannot fall asleep at all without the sedative and calming effect of neuroleptics. Motor restlessness as a side effect can considerably disturb sleep, as can dry mouth and nausea.

  11. Blood count changes and heart disorders

    The active ingredients of the drugs can lead to a variety of changes in the blood count. Blood tests are therefore sometimes carried out weekly. If the blood count is too poor, the type of neuroleptic must be changed or the dose reduced. Especially if the blood count controls are made too careless, possible changes remain unnoticed, which sometimes results in serious injuries inside the patient’s body. Diabetes and thromboses are one of many late effects of blood count changes.

  12. Late effects

    The liver in particular is quickly exhausted if the medication is taken during long-term therapy. This leads to an increased rate of cirrhosis of the liver and also to the failure of other organs in the body, and the longer or more one takes the medication, the more likely it is. In the same way that smoking has a bad effect on the lungs, these psychotropic drugs affect the liver and spleen, for example. When exhaustion symptoms of the organs occur, patients often cannot prove to the physicians that it is caused by the neuroleptics. Parkinson’s syndrome and tremor do not always disappear 100% after discontinuation.

  13. Accelerated aging

    Neuroleptics have a particularly negative effect on old people who are physically somewhat weakened due to their age. Because of the psychotropic drugs they sometimes start limping and stumbling ten years earlier than if they had not taken them. It results in life-threatening falls and collapses. An age-related poor blood count is further worsened by neuroleptics.


Neuroleptics should not be taken off the market because they also help some people. However, these drugs should be prescribed in lower doses and less frequently! Especially only in the initial phase, high doses or forced intake are justified, but never for a period longer than a few months. The intake is only justified at all if the patient is able to tolerate the side effects and if they are not life-threatening. Depot injections should be stopped, as they provide the body long-term with chemicals that are difficult to assimilate, and in an emergency, for example when a seizure sets in, they cannot simply be discontinued overnight. Depot injections are only justified in rare individual cases - for example, in cases of acute serious danger and violence, or when patients want to voluntarily avoid tablets. Unfortunately, according to current practice, depot injections are in some cases prescribed as a condition of probation; if the affected person refuses them, he is threatened with the termination in his residential group or a compulsory admission to psychiatry. One should have compassion for the mentally ill in such a situation, although otherwise they tend to behave socially awkward and perhaps become a danger. Neuroleptics are considered in scene circles to be "pharmaceutical narcotics" with similar long-term damage as alcohol consumption, chain smoking and the use of narcotics. Classic neuroleptics have more side effects on motor function and muscular processes, while atypical neuroleptics have a greater negative impact on blood count and metabolism. It must be emphasised that even in the case of atypical neuroleptics, side effects can be life-threatening and severely impair the quality of life. The side effects "tremor", "paralysis" and "cramps" are more pronounced with the classic neuroleptics. Particularly at medium doses and with drug combinations, more than half of the side effects listed above can occur in a single patient in total, which leads to the fact that the patient feels bad and refuses the medication. He may take his own life. Or the patient degenerates to a nursing case due to the paralyzing side effects of neuroleptics and takes early retirement. This is especially true for patients who do not receive the right medication tailored to their individual needs and who are given too high a dose. Other patients only work on the second labour market or in 450-euro jobs. This costs the state and health insurance companies much more money than psychotherapy and the medication. Some individual patients also like to take their neuroleptics because they feel few side effects and they feel better with their medication. The medication gives some patients the impression of safety and stability. While with classical neuroleptics far more than half of all patients prefer to discontinue them quickly due to the perceived torture of the side effects, this is true for a less large majority of atypical pharmaceuticals. Just because the side effects are the lesser of two evils from the point of view of those affected, the drugs are continued to be taken voluntarily. The fact that individual supervisors forcefully prescribe some of these hard drugs violates the general human right of "physical integrity". Especially the psychotropic drugs with many side effects are given against the will of patients, because they do not want to take them voluntarily for this very reason. This is torture and bodily injury, some of it severe.

 Benjamin Winter,    Hamburg,    2003  und  2020


In German Language