What is Geodon (Zisprasidone)?
Geodon is an oral medication containing the active ingredient Zisprasidone, prescribed to treat mood disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. When taken correctly, it can help reduce hallucinations associated with these mental disorders, and help you think clearly. It works by restoring the chemical balance of substances in the brain.
Geodon should be taken orally with food, twice a day. Take the capsules whole, ensuring you do not chew, crush, or open the capsules. The prescribed dosage is dependent on the severity of your condition and your response to treatment. It may be appropriate to start at a low dose and gradually increase according to your response. Take Geodon at the same time each day to help you remember and to get the most benefit. Do not stop or change the dosage of this medication without first consulting your doctor.
Keep Geodon in its original packaging until it is time to take it. Store away from direct sunlight and moisture, and out of reach of children and pets. Do not take expired medication. Dispose of expired and surplus capsules responsibly, following the instructions of your healthcare provider. Do not flush capsules down the toilet or drain. Do not share this medication with anyone else.
Common Side Effects
All medications come with a risk of side effects. It is important to recognize that your doctor has determined that the risk of side effects is outweighed by the potential benefit this medication can provide. Side effects will differ between individuals, and it is possible you may not experience any. Geodon use is commonly associated with the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Runny nose
If you experience any of the above side effects and they concern you, or they worsen or do not resolve on their own, contact your healthcare provider.
Severe Side Effects
Geodon can occasionally be associated with severe side effects that should be taken seriously. If you experience any of the following, contact your doctor:
- Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
- Muscle spasms
- Tremor at rest
- Severe mood swings
- Vision changes
- Sleep apnea
Geodon can also lead to an increase in blood sugar, which can cause or exacerbate diabetes. If you experience unusual increased thirst or urination, tell your doctor right away. If you are diabetic, ensure to monitor your blood glucose closely and keep in regular contact with your doctor. You may need to change your medication or lifestyle factors to accommodate Geodon.
On rare occasions, Geodon can cause significant weight gain and increased triglyceride levels in the blood. This can be a risk factor for developing heart disease, so ensure to tell your doctor if you notice any abnormalities in your weight.
Geodon can also cause a condition called tardive dyskinesia, which can occasionally be permanent. Tell your doctor immediately if you notice unusual or uncontrolled movements, particularly in the facial area, arms, or legs.
Geodon can cause an increase in the amount of prolactin produced in the body. In females, this can lead to unwanted production of breast milk, altered menstrual cycles, or difficulty conceiving. For males, it can lead to reduced sexual ability, changes in sperm production, or gynecomastia. Consult your doctor if you are concerned about any symptoms that arise. Males can also experience painful or prolonged erections persisting for more than four hours. Do not continue taking Geodon if this occurs and seek medical attention right away.
Emergency medical assistance should be sought if you experience severe side effects such as loss of consciousness, seizures, or symptoms of liver damage (persistent nausea/vomiting, appetite loss, abdominal pain, jaundice).
Geodon can also sometimes lead to neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a very serious condition requiring immediate attention. Seek medical help if you notice fever, muscle stiffness, severe fatigue, severe confusion, unusual sweating, tachycardia, dark urine, or changes in urine output.
Allergic reactions to Geodon are rare but not impossible. Do not take this medication if you are allergic to any of the ingredients. Inform your doctor if you have had severe allergic reactions to medication in the past. If you notice symptoms of an allergic reaction such as rash, itching, facial swelling, or difficulty breathing, seek emergency medical attention.
This is not an exhaustive list of side effects. If you experience any unusual symptoms that you find concerning, do not hesitate to contact your doctor.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking this medication, ensure your doctor is aware of your medical history, particularly any allergies. Check the ingredients of this medication and do not take it if you are allergic to any components. Also inform your doctor if you have a personal or family history of dementia, seizures, dysphagia, heart disease, metabolic disorders, or sleep apnea.
Geodon can cause QT prolongation, a condition that affects the heart rhythm. This can cause changes to the heart rate as well as clinical symptoms such as dizziness and fainting and requires medical attention immediately. The risk of developing this condition increases if you have other heart conditions or take other medication that also affects the heart rhythm. Tell your doctor if you have any heart conditions (heart failure, heart attack, slow heart rate, family history of QT prolongation or sudden cardiac death) or take medication that contributes to low potassium or magnesium levels in the blood such as diuretics.
As Geodon can lead to dizziness or drowsiness, it is best to avoid other products that may exacerbate this symptom, such as alcohol and marijuana. Do not operate heavy machinery (including driving) until you know how Geodon affects you. Avoid drinking alcohol.
Geodon can reduce sweat production, which can increase your risk of developing heat stroke. While taking Geodon it is best if you avoid activities that may lead to heatstroke, such as hard labour or exercise in hot weather, and hot pools. Ensure your fluid intake is adequate, and if you feel hot, find a cool place immediately and rest. If you develop a persistent fever, mood swings, dizziness, or headache, seek medical attention right away.
In some cases, older adults can be more susceptible to side effects of Geodon, including dizziness, uncontrolled movements, and QT prolongation. Monitor symptoms of older adults taking this medication, as they are at higher risk of falling.
This medication should only be taken by pregnant people if absolutely necessary. If taken in the final three months of gestation, the baby can be born with muscle stiffness, shakiness, drowsiness, difficulty feeding and breathing, and constant crying. Inform your doctor if you observe any of these symptoms in your infant. If you think you could be pregnant, intend to become pregnant, or become pregnant while taking Geodon, tell your doctor as soon as possible.
It is not known whether this medication can pass into breast milk. If it does, it may have untoward effects on the nursing infant. Therefore, it is not recommended to breastfeed while taking Geodon.
Interactions & Contraindications
Medications taken alongside each other can sometimes react, changing the way one or more of them function in the body, and leading to negative side effects. It is important that you keep a comprehensive list of all the medications you take frequently, including prescription and non-prescription, and share this with your doctor. They may want to adjust your medication schedule to accommodate Geodon. Do not start, stop, or change any medications without consulting your doctor first.
Geodon may interact with drugs such as metoclopramide and saquinavir. Other medication that affects the heart rhythm (such as amiodarone, moxifloxacin, procainamide, sotalol, and thioridazine, among others) should be avoided unless approved by your doctor.
Discuss with your healthcare provider if you also regularly take opioid pain relievers such as codeine, alcohol, marijuana, sleep or anxiety medication, muscle relaxants, or antihistamines. Check the labels on your regular medications to see if they cause drowsiness. Contact your doctor if you are unsure.