Atypical antipsychotics are newer antipsychotics, most of which were approved in the 1990s. They may also be called second generation antipsychotics.
Atypical antipsychotics are used in the treatment of schizophrenia and other psychoses and work on a number of different receptors, including serotonin, dopamine, adrenergic, cholinergic (muscarinic), and histamine receptors. They are usually preferred over older-type antipsychotics (also called first generation antipsychotics or typical antipsychotics) because they are less likely to produce extrapyramidal side effects (these are drug-induced movement disorders and include dystonia, Parkinson's-like symptoms, restlessness, rigidity, tardive dyskinesia, tremor, and other unwanted movements).
In addition, atypical antipsychotics are more effective at treating the negative symptoms of schizophrenia such as lack of motivation and social withdrawal, and are more effective in treatment-resistant patients.
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