Presbyterian | Your Story | Centennial Care | Winter 2022 5 What to know when taking antipsychotic medications Medications aren’t just for treating an illness or to keep us from getting sick. Some medications are used to help your brain and body function better. When your mind and emotions make it hard to keep friends, a job, or even keep track of your daily life, sometimes antipsychotic medications are what your brain needs. They can help you do the things you want to do in life. Especially if you’ve been diagnosed with schizophrenia, taking your antipsychotic medication as prescribed can help you think more clearly and avoid hospitalization. Whether you’ve been prescribed antipsychotic medication for bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, or schizophrenia, taking your prescribed medication every day can help you stay stable and function in your day-to-day life. If you are unhappy with the side effects of your medication, it is important to work closely with your provider to find the right medication for you. You also should not stop your medications without talking to your provider first. While antipsychotic medication can make a big difference in your life, it’s important to keep an eye out for side effects like raised blood sugar and possible heart problems. Your provider will be checking your blood glucose levels at least once a year. You and your provider will determine what to do next if you start to develop diabetes or heart conditions. And what if you already have diabetes? You can still use antipsychotic medication, with your provider’s help. While it’s not easy to manage both diabetes and your mental health, it’s easier to manage your mental health and diabetes while taking antipsychotic medications. You will have blood tests to check your A1C level and your cholesterol to watch for any changes. Likewise, if you have heart disease and take antipsychotic medication, you and your provider will both want to keep an eye on your cholesterol to watch for changes. To protect your health, make sure to talk to your provider about cholesterol, blood glucose, and A1C tests, which should happen at least once a year while you are taking antipsychotic medications. Always talk with your provider if you have any questions or concerns and do not stop or alter your medication without first discussing it with your provider.