Antipsychotic-Induced Somnolence in Mothers with Schizophrenia

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Abstract

Although it is known that many antipsychotic drugs, at the doses prescribed for schizophrenia, are sedative and cause daytime drowsiness, the effect of potentially diminished vigilance on parenting parameters has not been studied. The aim of this paper is to advise clinicians about sedative load in mothers who are prescribed antipsychotic medication. A Medline search was conducted into the sedative effects of antipsychotics, with the following search terms: sleep; sedation; somnolence; wakefulness; antipsychotics; schizophrenia, parenting, maternal behavior, and custody. The results showed that antipsychotic drugs differ in their propensity to induce sedation and do so via their effects on a variety of neurotransmitter systems. It is important to note that mothers with schizophrenia risk losing custody of their infants if they are perceived as potentially neglectful because of excessive daytime sleepiness. Clinicians must choose antipsychotic medications carefully and monitor for sedative effects whenever the patient has important responsibilities that require the maintenance of vigilance.

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