Geodon (or ziprasidone) belongs to a group of drugs called atypical antipsychotics and is used to treat certain mental health disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This medication works by restoring chemical imbalances in the brain and, in turn, helping individuals think more clearly and positively.

Use and Dosage

You should take Geodon by mouth and with food, typically twice a day, as instructed by your doctor. Exact dosage, however, depends on your underlying medical condition and initial response to treatment. Your doctor will likely start you out on a low dose and then gradually increase it, in order to lessen your risk of experiencing unwanted and harmful side effects. To get the best benefit from this medication, take it regularly and exactly as prescribed by your doctor—that is, even if you start to feel better or your condition starts to improve, you continue taking the medication until otherwise instructed.

Side Effects

As with many new medications, Geodon may produce some unwanted side effects. These side effects, however, do not typically outweigh the benefits of the medication. And if they persist or worsen, a simple discussion with your doctor may lead to an easy solution. Still, it is important to be aware of possible mild, more serious, and severe effects that may result from the medication:

  • Mild Effects: Dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, runny nose, and couch.
  • Serious Effects: Muscle spasms, difficulty swallowing, shaking, restlessness, changes in mood, vision changes, interrupted breathing during sleep.
  • Severe Effects: Fainting, seizures, severe dizziness, yellowing skin or eyes, persistent nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, or abdominal pain.

If you experience any of the above mild side effects, which persist or worsen over time, simply talk to your doctor promptly. If you experience more serious effects, however, tell your doctor right away and if you experience severe effects, seek medical attention immediately.

In addition to the aforementioned effects, Geodon may also make your blood sugar rise, which can worsen or even cause diabetes. If you notice any symptoms of an increase in blood sugar such as abnormal thirst or urination, tell your doctor right away. And if you already have diabetes, check your blood sugar and report back to your doctor regularly.

This medication may also (though rarely) cause a very serious and concerning condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS). Symptoms include fever, muscle stiffness/pain/or weakness, severe confusion or tiredness, sweating, dark urine, or an irregular heartbeat—if you experience any of these symptoms, get medical help immediately. Furthermore, you can also have a very serious allergic reaction to this drug—though this seldom occurs, you should be aware of the symptoms, which include a rash, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, and severe dizziness. And if you do experience any of these symptoms, you should again seek medical help right away.

Before Taking Geodon…

It’s important you take precautionary measures anytime you’re considering a new medication, as it can have very real effects on your life. Before you start taking Geodon, you should first…

  • Talk to your doctor about existing allergies, as this product may contain inactive ingredients that can cause allergic reactions or other issues.
  • Discuss your medical history with your doctor, especially when it comes to a personal history of dementia, difficulty swallowing, low white blood cell count, seizures, heart disease, diabetes (in this case, personal or family history), obesity, and sleep apnea.
  • Understand all of the drug’s effects and risks, as Geodon can cause the aforementioned side effects, some of which (e.g., dizziness or drowsiness) hinder your ability to drive, use machinery, or perform any other activity that requires alertness. It can also cause you to sweat less, making you more likely to have a heat stroke. Therefore, you should avoid doing anything that may make you overheat (e.g., exercising in hot weather).