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Antipsychotics, also known as neuroleptics, are a class of medications that were originally developed for treating psychosis. However, these medications are also used for many other purposes in people who do not suffer from any psychotic symptoms. These other uses are described in the following sections.

The two main categories of antipsychotics are the Typical Antipsychotics, which were the first antipsychotic medications to be developed, and the newer Atypical Antipsychotics.

The Special Case of Clozapine

Although Clozapine is often included in the group of Atypical Antipsychotics, PsychVisit places it in its own class because of its many unique properties. Clozapine is the most effective of all antipsychotic medications, in the sense that it has been shown to be superior to the Typical and Atypical Antipsychotics in treating the symptoms of Schizophrenia [ref, ref]. It also produces very little, if any, extrapyramidal side-effects.

However, the reason why it is not used more commonly for Schizophrenia, other Psychotic Disorders, and also Bipolar Disorder, is because of the significant side-effects that it tends to produce. The most worrisome of these is agranulocytosis, a serious and potentially life-threatening loss of the body's white blood cells that are necessary to fight-off infections. For this reason, people who take Clozapine must have their blood counts measured every week or two with blood tests. Using this careful monitoring system, the medication can be taken safely and with very low chances of serious events.